NGC 3610 & NGC 3642 -- Galaxies in Ursa Major
From my suburban backyard, with my 155mm refractor, I had been up and under the stars for
several hours. I had been focusing on observing/drawing several double stars. But the closer
I got to sunrise the more transparent the sky became. By 3am the sky was as good as it gets
from my house. I decided to forego the double stars, not wishing to pass on the quality of the
sky and switch my attention to hunting galaxies. I was not disappointed; I was able to observe
and draw two galaxy pairs in Ursa Major before thin high clouds started to move in and the
inevitable sunrise ended my observing period.
The Elliptical Galaxy NGC 3610 showed a bright core and stellar nucleus. The adjacent Barred
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3619 appeared only as a dim smudge in the eyepiece. This was my last
drawing of the morning, but the night had been good to me, four double stars and four galaxies
in six drawings – it just does not get any better from my yard in central Maryland.