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Ursa Major Project

The Observation of the Galaxies in Ursa Major
Ursa Major.
Chart used by permission from SkyMap Pro

Ursa Major (Ursae Majoris), the Great Bear, more commonly known as the Big Dipper is probably one of the best known constellations. Generally it is the first constellation that people learn to recognize in the Northern Hemisphere. It can be seen most of the year from the northern lattitudes.

The Great Bear.

We are asking any interested amateurs in the U.S.A. or around the world to contribute to this project.

If you are interested in deep-sky observing, and are not afraid of a challenge then this article should prove interesting. This article which revolves about a list of deep-sky objects of Ursa Major, offers a challenge to the advanced amateur astronomer who has a moderate to large instrument, however, let me state here and now that this article does not intend to put forth the challenge and then let each observer go on by himself. The success of the program which this article puts forth depends on the compiling of information on these objects from many observers.

Information which will prove very valuable and which we want from you, is information on:

  1. The approximate magnitude of each object observed. The magnitude of these objects can be approximated by comparing their brightness with other nebulous objects of known magnitude.
  2. The shape of the object. Since everyone of these objects is a galaxy except for the Owl Nebula M97, you should state whether the object appears to be elliptical (EO-E9), spiral (Sa-Sc), barred spiral (SBa-SBc), or whatever. Note if you can see or not the spiral structure, for those objects classified as spirals.
  3. The object's size. The size maybe gained through the use of micrometers, or by comparison; however, give all final information to us in minutes and seconds of arc.
  4. The color, of any.
  5. Instrumentation used. Information on both the eyepiece (focal length), telescope (type, focal length and aperture) is needed to be useful.
  6. The ease of finding the object (in comparison with the standard object, the Owl Nebula M97).
  7. Related Starfields. Here a drawing of the stars in the field of view with the object is required. Size of your field of view is very important (give in minutes of arc).
  8. The object's density. This is based on a scale of 1 to 5.
    1. Very compact and starlike.
    2. Compact.
    3. Moderately diffuse.
    4. Very diffuse.
    5. Extremely diffused.

Any graduation between these integers is encouraged. See the observation form and the Ursa Major list of galaxies (2000 Coordinates) on the following pages.


Home | History of the Ursa Major Project | Overall Master List of Objects | Observation Form
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