In 1917 Edward Emerson Barnard wrote that with the 40-inch Yerkes Observatory refractor, the nebula spanned 7.9 and was possibly a little brighter in the east, but he saw no central condensation
Its adjacent small companion, NGC 4264, is visible with direct vision, and exhibits a slight central condensation
. Photographs of NGC 4264 show a prominent inner ring with a bar across it.
The star density usually increases greatly toward the center, but the degree of central condensation
But this abruptly changed on December 20th when the comet's head exhibited a long, bright tailward-pointing ray instead of a compact central condensation
. This ray grew longer each day as the comet's head became weaker and more diffuse.
In my 10 x 50 binoculars, NGC 300 shows up as a small, hazy patch, about 10' across with no apparent central condensation
. My 15 x 70s render it a little brighter but show no further detail.
Moreover it was quite diffuse, with almost no central condensation
A number of faint stars dot a hazy face nearly 1/2[degrees] across with a slight central condensation
. My favorite view was with 80-millimeter binoculars at the 2002 South Pacific Star Party.
From outer suburbia, NGC 2516 is easily visible to the unaided eye as a hazy patch, and my 10 x 50 binoculars show a diffuse 1/2[degrees]-diameter halo with quite a strong central condensation
. Most conspicuous is a 5th-magnitude star that actually lies on the eastern edge of the halo.
My 8-inch f/6 Newtonian at 135x revealed a central condensation
, but not a very pronounced one.
Southwest of NGC 4434, the face-on barred spiral NGC 4416 is a distinct little fuzzy with a slight central condensation
My favorite globular is 47 Tucanae (NGC 104), second in size to mighty Omega Centauri but much prettier due to its dramatic class III central condensation
. Through even a 70-mm telescope 47 Tucanae seems huge (at least 18' across), with a dusting of resolved stars against a strongly concentrated haze.
At the eyepiece, clusters such as M13, M22, Omega Centauri, and 47 Tucanae accord well with the mental images we carry with us from photographs--a central condensation
with a web of faint stars gently laid over a soft haze.