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Angelika

Andromeda galaxy - fuzzy blob

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Angelika    10

Tonite I set out to find the Adromeda galaxy. It took me some time scanning around the trees in my yard, but I finally found it, I think. I was using my Stratus 17mm and I came across a fuzzy almost oval in the sky. I wasn't sure at first what I had found. I checked my Stellarium and my charts so I am pretty sure that it was the Adromeda Galaxy. Needless to say, it was kinda small. So I took out my trusty tele vue 2.5x powermate, thinking I could get a closer, clearer look. Not really. I thought I was doing something wrong, so I switched the Stratus out for the Plossl 25mm and that was just a smaller fuzzy. I even tried the celestron zoom, but again, even with the powermate, all I got was a fuzzy view. Am I expecting too much?? Do I not have an eyepiece good enough to give me a view that looks like a galaxy? I thought I would see more. I'm a bit disappointed. I could use some tips and advice please. Thank you

Edited by Angelika

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peteftm    14

I used to use a low power wide angled 2" eyepiece and it's best to use averted vision with this galaxy i thought

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ronin    3,700

Andromeda is (in the vast majority of scopes) a fuzzy blob.

For any detail you need a big scope, sorry cannot recall which one you have. But I am thinking of 14" and upwards.

Andromeda is also big, substantially bigger then the moon and I would suspoect that with the barlow/power mate in line that the magnification was too much to actually get it all in view. Therefore you may well have simply been looking at the central core of the galaxy - which has no real structure, and is a fuzzy blob.

If I recall Andromeda is about 3 degrees across - 6xmoon I think. As field of view is (eyepiece field of view)/(magnification) then - with a fairly standard plossl type eyepiece you need a magnification of something like 17x to get it all in view. Say 20x if slightly wider FoV eyepiece. Not a lot.

Now consider that the object is faint and you are magnifing it, so the image gets dimmer. As it is dim to start with then you really do not want high magnifications.

Still it should be dark where you are, which will help enormously.

Edit: See you have the XT8, Focal Length is 1200 so to get all of Andromeda in (3 deg) you need a 60mm eyepiece (No real chance).

Can but suggest a wide angle (SWAN/UWAN) of some long focal length. But I know they don't really come in LONG. Also Andromeda is about the only thing that big so an eyepiece specifically for Andromeda is a little much.

Edited by ronin

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DoctorD    272

Hi Angelika

The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is big - at 1200mm focal length of your scope (XT8) you are going to have a hard time fitting it into the field of view - you need less magnification not more.

Perhaps you found M110 which is next to M31 but much smaller?

Hope this helps

Paul

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Angelika    10

So I should have had a large view of the galaxy, without the powermate, and that wasn't the case. So maybe I found something else, not the galaxy. Now I have to do some reading to figure out what I saw :) I'll just try again tomorrow night.

Something I read on a different thread makes me think that perhaps with a very bright moon to my right, and a bit of light pollution in my neighborhood I may have just seen the core of the galaxy. In a week we are going camping and there is very very little light pollution in that area, so I am hoping I will have a much better viewing.

Edited by Angelika

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peteftm    14

It was a 500mm refractor that i was using at low power i should have stated :)

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vlebo    56

I think what you saw was M31. As mentioned , in most scopes it is nothing more than a fuzzy blob. You need really dark skies and a large aperture scope to begin to pull in any detail at all.

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NGC 1502    685

Hi Angelika, low power and a wide view is best for this galaxy. Make sure you are properly in focus, by focusing on a star, it's real hard to focus on a fuzzy blob.

Under a good sky, I've seen the main dust lane in M31 with my 10" scope, and a second one through my club's 16". Please bear in mind that most views, especially from a town, will only show the much brighter central core with no structure.

But you can get more out of viewing M31 by thinking about what you are looking at.

You are seeing light that took over two million years to get here, at 186,000 miles per second. And M31 is one of our 'local' group of galaxies. We observe with our minds as well as our eyes !

Enjoy your viewing, Ed.

Edited by NGC 1502

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inkpen    20

So what's the best magnification to view Andromeda and the best way to widen the field of view? I have a 2800mm f10 11" SCT. My minimum magnification is x70 at the moment. I've not tried pointing it at Andromeda but that's something I'm looking forward to in a month or two when it's higher. I've seen focal reducers advertised but don't know the maths to calculate what that would mean for my view.

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andrew63    1,044

Yes look with your 25mm plossl, the widest you have and the view will be a lot clearer without the moon. It even looks ok in binoculars, which give a good wide low power field.

But, unfortunately, the delicate structure is best seen in photographs. It's still a thrill to see these things when you realise how big and far away they are!

A lot of us over here will be very jealous of your DARK SKIES!

Andrew

Edited by andrew63

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NGC 1502    685
So what's the best magnification to view Andromeda and the best way to widen the field of view? I have a 2800mm f10 11" SCT. My minimum magnification is x70 at the moment. I've not tried pointing it at Andromeda but that's something I'm looking forward to in a month or two when it's higher. I've seen focal reducers advertised but don't know the maths to calculate what that would mean for my view.

Hi inkpen. You must be using a 40mm eyepiece to give 70x. If you get a 6.3 focal reducer, the focal length would come down to 1764mm, so the same 40mm EP would give 44x, and a wider field of view. Divide the apparent FOV by the magnification to give the FOV in degrees.

So a 40mm plossl, apparent field of about 42 degrees produces -

42/44 = .95 degrees. You can call that 1 degree. So you will only

see the central core of this 3 degree galaxy.

HTH, Ed.

Edit - post #11 is your best bet with M31.

Edited by NGC 1502

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obscura    11

The fuzzy blob was my experience too with an 8" SCT. A little disappointed and sold the scope.

That was 8-9 years ago since when astrophotography came into its own via CCD and DSLR cameras. So I am back into the fold and M31 is certainly just one of the targets.

The night skies are no clearer tho'.

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brantuk    3,091

What's fascinating about andromeda is the fact that the light from the fuzzy blob you're seeing, first started it's journey when dinosaurs walked the Earth. There's a degree of satisfaction in knowing that you can find it now, and knowing that you'll see maybe a little more from a darker site or with a larger scope or better quality ep with an appropriate fov.

For more detail though you really need to get a long exposure camera on it because the eye can't see what the camera can - you have that to look forward to :)

Edited by brantuk
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Skybrowser    12

I think that for everyone viewing THE galaxy for the first time, it's confusing. Everyone has seen those very detailed, amazing photos and all you get is a grey fuzzy blob. High magnification doesn't work as the thing is huge and the estimates of 6x the moon is equally confusing as new viewers don't believe it.

I think Brantuk's words about how far back in time we're seeing are a greatway of considering exactly what you're looking at.

Dark skies help enormously as I've seen it from home and from a very dark site and wow, shat a difference, but still a slightly less than fuzzy blob. I took a photo of it just using the camera only in the Maldives and it's still my best photo. For visual only, keep looking, conditions may get much better on the odd occasion!

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spaceboy    1,533
Am I expecting too much?? Do I not have an eyepiece good enough to give me a view that looks like a galaxy? I thought I would see more. I'm a bit disappointed. I could use some tips and advice please. Thank you

NO! you are expecting too much. The forum is full of beginners that are disappointed in the views and the reason for this is often due to numerous Technicolor pictures of galaxies and nebula so there is no shock at the misconception to what people will see at the EP. Unfortunately the detail people talk about of the forum will never be to your expectations as it will never be anything more than a hint of darkness through an otherwise faint fussy blob. The problem is for you to have the enthusiasm to invest copious amounts of money in a scope able to get the detail from galaxies needs you to have a level of acceptance that a fuzzy blob is all you'll ever really see. The human eye simply doesn't have the capability to give you the views you see in glossy magazine pictures.

To get any kind of respectable view from M31 you will need a large scope, dark adapted eyes, a perfected adverted vision technique, really good transparency / seeing and pitch black skies. This is not saying that good views cannot be achieved with any thing less it just means that it will never live up to the expectations of some beginners and they sell up and move onto the next hobby.

As other members have mentioned you need to realize that it's not merely a fuzzy blob your looking at but in fact billions upon billions of stars in a galaxy that is many light years away. I suspect that given the magnifications you talk about you were only looking at the core. Even then you need to think that even if you could travel at light speed you wouldn't even be able to travel the width of that core in a life time. Everything we look at through a scope are huge it's only because of perspective they look small. The fact that we can see anything at all makes me love this hobby but it's not everyones idea of fun!

The only advice I can offer is that you take your scope camping, allow your eyes to get properly dark adapted while your scope cools down and then bang in your lowest power EP (ideally 35-40mm in your scope). M31 is visible to the naked eye under dark skies so you will have no trouble finding it despite the increase number of stars experienced under dark skies. When you do observe M31 try averted vision all around the view and persist over several minutes while your eyes adjust and begin to see all the subtle differences amongst the fuzz.

I look forward to hearing what you think to the difference in view under dark skies and I hope it stays clear for you. Also take a print out of this Andromeda Galaxy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia so you and you friends can really appreciate what it is your looking at :)

SPACEBOY

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Moonshane    9,795

I agree with the bulk of the comments here. may observers go for M31 first but really I think that the galaxy pair in Ursa Major (Messier 81 and 82) are a finer object together in the eyepiece and also show a little more detail than M31.

Most galaxies in the average instrument will be fuzzy bloated 'stars' where there is any light pollution (natural or artificial) at all.

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RikM    2,558

My thoughts too. Galaxies are among my favourite objects to observe, but all they really look like are dim grey fuzzy blobs.

Hubble has a lot to answer for, both sparking people's interest while giving totally the wrong idea of what you will actually see. False advertising really...to whom should I complain ? :)

Edited by RikM

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Adamski    10

There is another galaxy located very near to andromeda, have you considered it might be that instead. I was caught out with it the other week.

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Charon    1,111

We all have different expectations in what we may or hope to see regardless of what level of equipment we own. I was amazed to see the fuzzy smudge of the Orion Nebula using my Meade ETX80 with a Baader zoom I had no other equipment at the time, anything else I will see in the future when I get my 800 and my new ep's will surely be a bonus.

My two pence worth.

Derek:)

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pete_l    516

I've always (ALWAYS) found galaxies and other "faint fuzzies" to be a monumental disappointment when eyeballed. At best you see a faint patch of grey that's slightly lighter than the surrounding background. At worst you mess around for an hour in the freezing cold and come away with nothing.

However, when you get them in a camera field they are beautiful.

The problem is the Mk1 human eyeball is simply not good enough to show up any detail. You really need to get some electronic assistance to resolve anything at all. One thing you could try, if you have a £1k or so lying around, begging to be spent is to check out the MallinCam Xtreme which you connect to a TV and get close to real-time views from the multi-second integration the camera features (in colour, too).

You can also get an idea of what other people "see" through their MallinCams by joining the Night Sky Network where owners broadcast their video feeds for all to watch.

Edited by pete_l

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