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Galaxy Hopping 2-19-2012

2 Mar 2012, 00:14 UTC
Galaxy Hopping 2-19-2012
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Carl Sagan might not have ever said "billions and billions," but I will. On the morning of February 19, I saw stars by the billions and billions. I observed 24 objects I'd never seen before, most of them galaxies in Leo and Virgo. All those galaxies are nicely placed to jump from one to the next, like intergalactic star hopping.I'm almost certain I doubled the number of galaxies I've ever seen. They are never high on my priority list, but if you get the chance under a moderately dark sky, with a fairly large aperture telescope, go galaxy hopping through Leo, Virgo, or Ursa Major. It's almost like shooting fish in a barrel; can't miss. And you get to count stars by the billions and billions.I've never been much of a galaxy observer, but have hit up the easier ones like M31, M51, M101, M81 & 82, M66 & 65, and M104. I'd probably seen a total of less than 20 galaxies before Saturday night/Sunday morning. Here's my observing list from that session, with objects I hadn't seen before italicized:Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto (from Chesterton, early in the night; the rest were after I arrived at Conway Observatory).M42-12:05 ...

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