|NGC 4038 & NGC 4039 "Ringtail Galaxy": Interacting Galaxies (Corvus) RA: 12h 01.9m / DEC: -18° 54'.5|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
Slew about 3.5 degrees west-southwest from 2.6 magnitude Gamma (4) Corvi and you'll stumble over NGC 4038 and NGC 4039. Collectively known as the "Ringtail," these are gravitationally interacting galaxies.
Both appear quite misshapen in the 10-inch Starfinder Newtonian. NGC 4038 is roughly 3'x1'.5 in size, aligned east-to-west and listed in the RC3 with a 10.9 photographic magnitude. 11.1 (P) magnitude NGC 4039 covers 2'.5x1'.0 along more of a northeast-southwest axis. Photographic magnitude objects are typically 0.8 to 1.3 magnitude brighter in the visual band. This suggests visual brightnesses in the 10.0 to 10.3 magnitude range for this pair. No hint of ring-tail structure is seen in my 10-inch Newtonian.
Despite its absence from the official Atronomical League Herschel 400 list, I have chosen to include NGC 4039 among my observations. Sir William Herschel did observe this galaxy. It is not significantly more challenging to observe than interacting partner, NGC 4038, which is included in the official list. Adding NGC 4039 allowed me to maintain an even 400 objects in the absence of NGC 2372 and NGC 6882. NGC 2372 is a duplicate observation of NGC 2371. NGC 6882 is a duplicate observation of NGC 6885. I added NGC 4340 to compensate for the second object dropped from the official list.
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Revised: April 4, 2003 [WDF]