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Naemeth

The Hunt for the Messiers

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Hi

TBH if you can nail M101 you should get the rest, as its surface brightness is way down low. The other tough ones are M83 because of its elevation from UK skies, it's never far from the horizon, M74 the phantom, this is another very faint one, and M33, huge, face on and again faint.

I personally think M16 is pretty tough, best from dark skies with an O-III filter.

Spend a bit of time on each one, they deserve it :)

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I think rory's advice is sound, if you have s&t's pocket atlas and a dim red torch, you can't go wrong. I find that the hunt makes it all that more satisfying when you find what you are looking for. This time of the year is great for globular clusters in Ophiuchus and there are some lovely nebula in Sagittarius :) All we need now is the rain to stop!!

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Hi

TBH if you can nail M101 you should get the rest, as its surface brightness is way down low. The other tough ones are M83 because of its elevation from UK skies, it's never far from the horizon, M74 the phantom, this is another very faint one, and M33, huge, face on and again faint.

I personally think M16 is pretty tough, best from dark skies with an O-III filter.

Spend a bit of time on each one, they deserve it :)

I didn't really see any detail at all of M101, and think it is the limiting magnitude of my back garden. Which is worrying, because 7.9 isn't very high.

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M101 has an integrated magnitude of 7.9. This means if all its light came from a point source, it would be that bright. As its light comes from an area roughly the size of the full moon, its surface brightness is very low. This makes it hard to spot. I have seen spiral structure in M101 with my 8" SCT under very clear skies from a very dark site. Awesome.

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Hmm.... I might try the others' then, I had pretty much given up on the rest as they were magnitude 10+.

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Bagged more Messiers today after my collimation was a success! Much darker tonight due to probably 3 things, the later start (it was cloudy around Sunset), nearing Astro Darkness and the absence of the Moon :). I picked up M56, M57 and M29, still using the laptop (on night mode this time) ;), this little Heritage is brilliant!

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Another night, some more Messiers. I'm definitely suffering from lack of aperture and not dark enough skies, the Messiers I am getting are so faint I can only just make them out after 5 minutes of looking, nonetheless I can add M94, M106 and M109 to my collection :).

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M13...You know you have it when you see a little fuzzy star in between two normal looking stars..

Its high up to the south at about 11pm at the moment..

Try M15 to the right and up from Enif the bright star to the right of the Pegasus square,,,Its pretty bright..

Mark

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M13...You know you have it when you see a little fuzzy star in between two normal looking stars..

Its high up to the south at about 11pm at the moment..

Try M15 to the right and up from Enif the bright star to the right of the Pegasus square,,,Its pretty bright..

Mark

Thanks for the tip, I'll try M15 tonight, although I've already got M13 :).

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M12 bagged, although it was very faint. Mosquito almost made me jump into the eyepiece, and unfortunately next door decided to have their lights on, which blocks out the whole of my South view that isn't obscured by trees with glare. I decided to call it a night then.

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Still waiting for a clear sky here. Last night time clear sky I saw was 12th May. At least you are managing some observing!

Edited by ArmyAirForce

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Still waiting for a clear sky here. Last night time clear sky I saw was 12th May. At least you are managing some observing!

True. 3 nights of observing out of 4 is far better than I've had in months. Well, this is the best weather I've seen since I got the scope in the start of May, I've learned quite a lot since then :).

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Added several since I last posted, including M63 last night. Last night was real bad luck for two reasons, one was that the cloud rolled in after about an hour, the other is before that, my RDF ran out of batteries, where do I get more?

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Yes, the weather is really putting a dampener on observing! I'm lucky to get one session a month in due to the mixture of rain and cloud! :( Good to hear that you are bagging some of the less obvious to find Messiers in M12, I found that one extremely hard to pin down although visually it is a fairly bright globular when found! In fact, it was harder than M74 in a way, since M74 is at least very close to a bright star in Pisces (and M74 is a tough one). Just wish some of Messier's objects were not hugging the horizon, as the last few are very elusive given the obstructed view I have for my southern horizon. :(

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I bagged Andromeda throught the bino's last night. Was a great moment and then passed them to the missus and described to her where it was. Can't believe we've struggled to find it before! More to be found tonight

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Um... I think I found M15, well I certainly found a fuzzy tonight (fairly big too!), the problem is, with no finder (and I had no Stellarium open), I have no idea exactly where it was. It was about 40 degrees up, left of Altair and the small line of 3 that it is in the middle of.

Complete luck too, just randomly pointed the scope into the sky and bingo, fuzzy spotted! M15 or could it be an NGC? Bear in mind, this was a very obvious fuzzy, probably the size a key on a laptop / computer keyboard.

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I notice you live in Norwich, are you aware of Norwich Astronomical Society.

Yes, but it's very far to travel and I don't have access to a car, public transport also stops at around 9pm I think. It's also a 26 mi round trip there and back.

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Yes, but it's very far to travel and I don't have access to a car, public transport also stops at around 9pm I think. It's also a 26 mi round trip there and back.

I have to go further than that every time I observe, thanks to pesky light pollution which makes viewing from my garden pointless. I notice from your sig that your unadapted limiting magnitude is about 4 (I'm guessing maybe 4.5 or 5 when dark adapted), which is as bad as my garden. This must really be hampering your efforts. If you contact your local society you might find there's somebody nearby who could give you a lift somewhere darker.

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I have to go further than that every time I observe, thanks to pesky light pollution which makes viewing from my garden pointless. I notice from your sig that your unadapted limiting magnitude is about 4 (I'm guessing maybe 4.5 or 5 when dark adapted), which is as bad as my garden. This must really be hampering your efforts. If you contact your local society you might find there's somebody nearby who could give you a lift somewhere darker.

I tried several months ago, although I might try again. 3.95 is only just visible, with a bit of averted vision. It does make things harder, but even over summer (where limiting magnitude is more like 3, I still managed quite a few!). I'm researching the possibility of getting some kind of backpack / wheeled transport so I can walk my telescope to some better skies (that also won't be as obstructed as my back garden). I haven't tested in terms of fully dark adapted, as often there is a bit of glare from every side. It's what happens when you live opposite a car park.

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It's certainly possible to see some DSOs in a sky as bright as limiting magnitude 3, but a sky like that is about 15 times brighter than one that can really be called dark, so any views you get are going to be severely compromised, and just seeing anything at all can be considered something of an achievement - which I suppose is fine if you just want to tick off whatever objects you can. Limiting mag 3 is the sort of figure you expect in a big city so it sounds like the glare you mention is hampering your vision, in which case you could try and screen out direct lights, for example by observing with a hood over your head (give yourself at least twenty minutes without emerging to look at anything else but the eyepiece).

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It's certainly possible to see some DSOs in a sky as bright as limiting magnitude 3, but a sky like that is about 15 times brighter than one that can really be called dark, so any views you get are going to be severely compromised, and just seeing anything at all can be considered something of an achievement - which I suppose is fine if you just want to tick off whatever objects you can. Limiting mag 3 is the sort of figure you expect in a big city so it sounds like the glare you mention is hampering your vision, in which case you could try and screen out direct lights, for example by observing with a hood over your head (give yourself at least twenty minutes without emerging to look at anything else but the eyepiece).

Last time I was out, I didn't bring a laptop out or anything, and that made a lot of difference. I think I'm also going to look into getting a red light torch (after a finder, and some flocking material) so I can use star maps instead. In terms of blocking out the glare, there isn't really all that much I can do, except using the fence as natural shielding, although I have thought of the hood idea before. Maybe a balaclava or similar would help, coupled with an eyepatch incase I need to go inside.

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If you can manage to get to a dark site, the difference is stunning between polluted and pristine sky.We've just had two weeks on North Skye. During the few hours without cloud, the sky has been amazing. In addition to an almost white Milky Way , constellations hidden by so many stars, I counted 20 stars within Delphinus and 15 stars between Sulafat and Sheliak in Lyra.

It was eye opening to compare the appearance of dso's at home to those in a pristine sky.

What grabbed me was the tortuous split appearance of the Milky Way through Cygnus and the clarity of the Veil .

Nick.

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If you can manage to get to a dark site, the difference is stunning between polluted and pristine sky.We've just had two weeks on North Skye. During the few hours without cloud, the sky has been amazing. In addition to an almost white Milky Way , constellations hidden by so many stars, I counted 20 stars within Delphinus and 15 stars between Sulafat and Sheliak in Lyra.

It was eye opening to compare the appearance of dso's at home to those in a pristine sky.

What grabbed me was the tortuous split appearance of the Milky Way through Cygnus and the clarity of the Veil .

Nick.

I managed at the start of August to get some pretty dark skies (Sidmouth in Devon), it wasn't as good as it could have been (due to glare from the Campsite), but I could still see some of the white mist of the Milky Way. So beautiful, even though I had no scope with me.

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