NGC 2859 -- Barred Lenticular Galaxy in Leo Minor
A Dim Lenticular Galaxy in the Little Lion
On March 7th we were provided the most transparent skies that we ever get over Central
Maryland. At a local park, I could make out all the stars that compose the Little Dipper.
That means that I could see 5th magnitude stars overhead (that is a full magnitude fainter
than I can get at the house on a good night). Of course, the sky quickly degenerated near
the light polluted horizons, but still from where I live this level of sky transparency is
I keep a list of failures – objects that I think might be possible to observe but continuously
elude me from Central Maryland. This list is sadly quite long. I pulled the list out on the
night of March 7th due to the quality of the skies and with the 110mm refractor claimed
victory (finally) over several hard-to-get Deep Sky Objects. The Barred Lenticular Galaxy,
NGC 2782, in Leo Minor was a good example. Even on such a good night it still was not
easy in the telescope and required some work.
NGC 2782 is one of the most difficult of the Herschel 400 objects for me to get in the small
refractor from my area in Central Maryland. This was my 4th attempt from local Parks near
my house to see it. But tonight, was the night. It was very faint, but with some effort, I could
see the slightly brighter core within the tiny fuzz ball. In large professional telescopes, NGC
2782, is unique in having a double-barred disk. It also has a supermassive Black Hole at its
center with a mass of 105 million times that of our sun.
Of course, I could not see any of the full grander in this faint galaxy. I was just glad to finally
find it in the small refractor. I confess that there is always a degree of satisfaction in
removing at object from my list of failures.