Sketch ready:
Final drawing:

NGC 346

NGC 346

Drawing data

NGC 346 Tuc NY+DF
Date(s) of observation:
2012.06.22/23. Hakos
2012.06.23/24. Hakos
Place(s) of observation:
Hakos Astrofarm, Namibia, 1835m amsl.
Telescope(s) used:
4" f/4 Newtonian (Dobson)
Enlargement(s) used:
50x (8mm Planetary)
Field size:
Author / Observer:
Peter Kiss


NGC 346 drawing inverted into positive.
NGC 346 drawing inverted into positive.

I finished my Omega Centauri drawing on our next-to-the-last night in Namibia. I had only one more unfinished drawing, NGC 3532 (the left side of the Eta Carinae Nebula panorama). There was a couple of hours left until dawn so I decided that I had time for a bonus drawing. I was considering the various objectives. I definitely wanted to choose a very southern object that by no means has a nothern sister. Therefore I chose the objects of the Small Magellanic Cloud which I knew nothing about.

The most spectacular object in the field is the open cluster - diffuse nebula complex NGC 346. As I drew it I was shocked to realise that it resembles a barred spiral galaxy. I forced myself to look at it in a way that I don't see the spiral structure ("such a nebula does not exist") but I kept seeing the barred spiral. Later I learned that this is the "Spiral Nebula" which indeed resembles a galaxy.

The brightest deep-sky object in the field is the open cluster NGC 330 (below). It can be very dense and it is getting very suddenly brighter towards the middle - this would be good for a globular as well. Its surface is a little mottled, a couple of stars can be seen around the core.

Deep-sky objects around NGC 346.
Deep-sky objects around NGC 346.

The great open cluster - diffuse nebula complex above NGC 346 is very interesting as well. It is mottled, it can be on the edge of being resolved. Many stars are twinkling on its surface but there is nebulosity as well. The open cluster NGC 376 on the left is bright as well and it is getting suddenly brighter towards the core. The latter is true for the somewhat fainter globular cluster NGC 416 (upper left). Two more fainter nebulae are visible in the upper right part of the field, NGC 395 and IC 1624. IC 1612 (?) below the center of the field is very tiny and faint.

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