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m51


4lefts
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so after a few unsuccessful attempts, i finally found m51 and m64 on friday night at my local astro club. i knew all along that the darkness of the skies made all the difference, but that didn't stop me trying to find m51 in skies that i new weren't really dark enough...

anyway, looking through an 8mm ep, with a 200mm f6 dob, i think i could see a bit of spiral structure to m51. does this sound plausible? has anyone else been in a situation where you're not sure if you can really see something, or if your convincing yourself you can because you've seen photos and you know what an object "really" looks like? how do you stay objective?

either way, it was a good night - i got my first globulars in as well - m3, m13 and m53.

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I had a the same thing with my 200mm and M51 a few weeks back. The sky was really good and although faint I thought I may have seem some structure but couldn't be sure. I tried again with the 250 the other night butn the sky wasn't as dark and there was a haze so I could only just make it out at all.

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.... has anyone else been in a situation where you're not sure if you can really see something, or if your convincing yourself you can because you've seen photos and you know what an object "really" looks like? how do you stay objective?......

This happens often I find when you are pushing at the edges of performance of the equipment / observing conditions.

Where ever possible I try not to be influenced by photos, drawings and other descriptions of an object but this is hard to achieve in practice.

What I do enjoy is observing an object frequently and for sustained periods. This way I find you can gradually tease more detail out and get to "know" the object under varying conditions.

I felt I could "almost" see spiral structure in M51 with my 6" mak-newt at the SGL starparty a few weeks back. At a previous years party there was no doubting it when the same object was viewed with a 12" dob and it was gobsmacking the year after when I viewed it with a 20" :) - I'll never forget those views :p

Edited by John
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Seeing the spiral arms on m51 for the first time two weeks ago I couldn't beleve it I was using my 200mm with a 15 mm I was up in Cumbria I have to say the sky was very black and i had a limited mag of 12

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hmmm. i think i probably pushed the mag a bit too far too. i started with a 25mm plossl and found m51, and though "yes! quick, get as much mag as possible!!!". probably the wrong thing to do. looking longer and harder at a lower mag would have probably been more useful. next time.

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hmmm. i think i probably pushed the mag a bit too far too. i started with a 25mm plossl and found m51, and though "yes! quick, get as much mag as possible!!!". probably the wrong thing to do. looking longer and harder at a lower mag would have probably been more useful. next time.

I don't know what scope you are using but I find a 13mm eyepiece very good on M51 with my 10" F/4.8 newtonian. That's giving 92x.

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yeah. 8" f/6 newtonian, so with the 8mm ep, 150x. too much methinks. i need to think hard about where to go from here with my ep collection. i've got the 10 and 25mm plossls that came with the scope - the 25 seems ok but i don't like the 10mm, plus a 17mm tv plossl that i like, but wish it had more fov, so i'm thinking about a 17mm nagler t4 - does anyone know if the naglers take barlows well? maybe i could get a 2" barlow as well?

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I have just about seen the spiral structure of m51 from my home in an 8 inch Skywatcher. The sky conditions were very transparant and dark. My location gives good dark skies with naked eye limiting magnitude of +6 to +6.5 or more.

I recently changed to a 10" Skywatcher after being out of the hobby for a year or so and the two views I have had of M51 through it so far have showed the spiral structure quite clearly especially with slightly adverted vision. This galaxy has so far given the most rewarding improvement in view for a galaxy from the new scope compared with the 8 inch.

For me, the best view in the 10 inch scope was with Meade 5000 14mm giving 86x. Nice balance of bright view and decent enough magnification to bring out the structure nicely.

Edited by greglloyd
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I have spotted a hint of the arm extending from the main galaxy to the smaller one using a 6" Newtonian at about 48x magnification (under very dark skies), but no spiral structure in the main body. The C8 at 93x shows a bit more detail, including a hint of spiral structure, but only under dark skies. Sometimes, you get the spiral structure by moving your eye, and you get the illusion of rotation (common motion illusion in spiral textures). I had this once quite clearly with M101.

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