OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE* – DECEMBER, 2021
by Glenn Chaple
NGC 16 – Lenticular Galaxy in Pegasus (Magnitude 12.0, Size 1.8’ by 1.0’)
Our December Observer’s Challenge takes us to the northeast corner of Pegasus and a lenticular galaxy some 123 million light years away (SIMBAD data). Discovered by William Herschel on September 8, 1784. its appearance (“A faint star with small chevelure [hazy luminescence] and 2 burs”) led Sir William to enter it into his Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars as a Class IV (Planetary Nebulae) object.
With a visual magnitude of 12.0, NGC 16 will challenge medium aperture scopes, especially if observed from an area beset by slight to moderate light pollution. I looked for it with a 10-inch f/5 reflecting telescope on an evening when the magnitude limit was around 5. At 140X, I was able to make out little more than a faint star (the galaxy’s nucleus). Visual observers in dark-sky locations or working with larger instruments may be able to make out a surrounding oval haze.
The 2000.0 celestial coordinates for NGC 16 are: RA 00h 09m 04.3s, DEC +27° 43’ 45”, a little over a degree south of the 2nd magnitude star Alpheratx (alpha [α] Andromedae). The accompanying finder chart should enable star-hoppers to find their way from Alpheratz to NGC 16.
Image by Mario Motta
The purpose of the Observer’s Challenge is to encourage the pursuit of visual observing. It is open to anyone who is interested. If you’d like to contribute notes, drawings, or photographs, we’d be happy to include them in our monthly summary. Submit your observing notes, sketches, and/or images to Roger Ivester (firstname.lastname@example.org). To find out more about the Observer’s Challenge, log on to rogerivester.com/category/observers-challenge-reports-complete,