|NGC 4874 & NGC 4889 "Coma Galaxy Cluster": Galaxy Cluster (Coma Berencies) RA: 12h 59.9m / DEC: +27° 58'.1|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
Few sights are as awe inspiring as seeing a true galaxy cluster. To see a handful of star cities contained within a single eyepiece field gives one a sense of both the vastness and the fragility of the universe. The sketch at left presents the Coma galaxy cluster as it appears in my 10-inch Meade Starfinder Newtonian. The cluster, located 2.5 degrees west of 4.2 magnitude Beta (43) Comae Berenices, lies about 300 million light-years from Earth. MegaStar plots more than 50 galaxies within a 2-degree radius of the brightest members, NGC 4874 and NGC 4889. My drawing, made at 129X, shows ten galaxies within a 30' diameter field.
|Instrument: 18-inch Obsession|
Turning the Obsession towards this galaxy cluster reveals a host of new objects. My drawing renders a 199X view centered on the bright galaxies, NGC 4874 and NGC 4889. NGC 4874 is the bright object near the southwest corner of the field. Among the 16 galaxies visible in this field, three are huddled near this giant elliptical. They are 14.1 magnitude NGC 4871, 14.4 mag. NGC 4872 and 14.1 mag. NGC 4873. 13.8 magnitude NGC 4869 is spotted nearly 4' to the southwest adjacent to a 14th mag. GSC star. HD 112887, the brightest star in the field, blazes 6'.5 north of NGC 4874. A pair of galaxies lie west of this 7.2 mag. star. NGC 4865 and 14.6 magnitude MCG +5-31-63 are stationed just inside the field boundary. Just inside the southwest field edge, NGC 4864 and 14.5 magnitude NGC 4867 are seen. NGC 4889 lies near the east field boundary. This giant elliptical is flanked to the east by 15.2 mag. NGC 4894 and to the west by 13.9 mag. NGC 4886. Needles to say, this is an area of the sky a galaxy lover could spend many hours exploring without observing the same galaxy twice.
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Revised: March 13, 2005 [WDF]