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Messier Objects?


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Hello there

I wanted to know what Messier objects would be best to observe around this time. I have never observed any before so what are the easiest ones to see. Could I also ask in your opinion what is the best looking Messier object.

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I'd recommend starting with M13 (globular cluster in Hercules) and M57 (planetary nebula in Lyra). They're both quite easy to find, being near reasonably bright stars and are the best objects of their type.

For galaxies, M81 and M82 in Ursa Major are the easiest to see apart from M31 which isn't well placed at the moment. They are trickier to find by star hopping though.

M65 and M66 in Leo are easy for star hopping but are fainter. They will be visible in your 200mm though unless you have really bad light pollution.

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Thanks for all the answers I shall have a look next time the skies are clear. I do take it they won't look as good as the photos you see of them. How much detail do you think I will be able to make out on the galaxies and nebulae etc.

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.... How much detail do you think I will be able to make out on the galaxies and nebulae etc.

This depends very much on how much light pollution you have where you are observing. From a dark sky site my 6" will show really nice views of the brighter nebulae and galaxies but from my moderately light polluted back garden even my 10" struggles to show much detail. The brigtest nebulae (eg:M57, M27, M42 etc) will show some detail and a UHC filter can help here. Globular clusters should show some resolution into stars - M13 looks pretty good in an 8". Galaxies will be mostly faint smudges of light - a few a little brighter smudges. Some galaxies are surprisingly large faint smudges !. Spiral structure can be glimpsed in M51 with an 8" under really good conditions and to the practiced eye.

You won't see any colour except perhaps a faint lime green in M42.

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