Jump to content

Banner.jpg.39bf5bb2e6bf87794d3e2a4b88f26f1b.jpg

m31 andromeda ... very.. meh


Recommended Posts

First time seeing m31 last night, and as title says it was very poor in comparison to some other things I have found.

I was using my skywatcher 200p with eyepieces ranging from 25m down to 6m and I really could not make out any detail at all on it. It really was just a blurry star. Now I have located some clusters before this where I have been able to pick out some nice detail but Andromeda was a bit of a let-down just a blurry star with no noticeable detail .

My only hope is that I can blame the fact I am viewing from a highly light polluted area.

According to the really cool light pollution app halfway down this page http://www.need-less.org.uk/ I am viewing from a Bortle 8 light polluted area. Everyone says that the Andromeda can be seen with the naked eye.... Not for me, no way I could see it with bare eyes, and I have good eyesight and don't need to wear glasses. With my new 10x50 binoculars I could make out ‘something’ the kind of thing where you don’t know if you’re seeing something or not and it disappears when you look directly at it. And finally through telescope it was a low detail blur.

So I guess I’m desperately hoping that when my plans to get to a Bortle 3 site come together, is there going to be a bit more revealed do you think?

I’m hoping it was just pollution. Don’t get me wrong I am well aware that a home scope aint going to be showing a Hubble like image, but m31 was even poorer than some of the other things I have found and I guess I am hoping for this one, the blame can be put on light pollution?

What do you all think?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could see M31 with the naked eye last night and it felt like it filled the entire field of view of my 10x50s It was possibly one of the best views I've had of it. Perhaps an LP filter would help?

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andromeda can be dissappointing from a very light polluted area, however, I am a mile from Swindon town centre and not only have I seen it with the naked eye, but I have also got a good expansive view of it with my 200P and a PanaView 32mm ep, superb, maybe it was the quality of the ep that may have affected your view, however, you can't beat a dark site for viewing DSO's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw it from LP area last week and it was just an ovaliod fuzzy patch thru scope, but as I could see it with naked eye and binos ( just old cheap 7x35'S) I put it down to LP. I googled for images of it and some did match what I saw.

What confuses me is thast you say 'blurry star' and I wouldn't personally describe the dim grey fuzzy patch of it as a 'blurry star' which implies something brighter - probably just language. I am assured from dark sight, preferably in the winter, it will 'blow me away'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Andromeda Galaxy is badly affected but LP. From LP sites all you'll see is the core area.

For galaxies you really need to get to dark skies. The eyepiece choice shouldn't make that much difference, even cheapo rubbish ones will show it well if the sky is a good one.

From my house (south London ) not only is it invisible to the naked eye but it's not straight forward in bins. Get to a dark site and you cannot miss it.

From a dark sky site your 8" scope will easily show the main dust lane and detail within, you may even see the others if the sky is really top rate.

You will also note how it expands accross several FOV. And the companion Galaxies (that you may not even have seen before) seem much nearer to it and considerably brighter.

Dark skies rule.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Maclean, I'm in the same position as you regarding light pollution, you have a very capable scope there - I think M31 is probably the most talked about object on here, a massive Galaxy and very diffuse (spread over a large area) ideally we should all observe from a very dark site with massive scopes - but the reality is that for convenience, our home locations are just a "step" outside the back door.

There are hundreds of galaxies/nebula well within the reach of your scope, but as you say light pollution "hides" all of the faint galaxies and nebula and visually, you will never see photo quality images at the eyepiece - galaxies will be just a smudge, from the darkest locations I think they will stand out, but only observing from my home I have no experience of a dark site and have to search for them, generally the brighter Messier objects are the best to start with and wait till they are at the highest point in the sky when your looking through the least amount of atmosphere where the sky tends to be darker, the objects may stand out a litttle more, try to choose the constellations near to the pole star Polaris, these constellations "circle" as the months move on and pass virtually overhead (the zenith). When Ursa Major is low in the sky, all the galaxies are mostly invisible, but when Ursa Major moves overhead the contrast between the back ground sky becomes more noticeable and the fainter galaxies on the horizon suddenly become a little more visible - don't get me wrong - these objects are very faint, due to the nature of the distances involved and their orientation as seen from the earth "hints" of detail becomes visible.

Its a little dis-heartening at first, but as you become more familiar of what your observing you can train your eyes, and with a little practice, the faintest of detail under really poor skies starts to appear.

As said before your not ever going to see the fantastic detail that photos and images produce, but just knowing that, wether you have a dob or GOTO and are "sweeping " the area around these objects, your eyes are trained in the eyepiece - with a little movement - the objects your looking for suddenly appear. Some nights are also better than others- due to transparency - one night the elusive Galaxies will appear - another night - totally invisible.

I've used a number of different scopes over the years of my interest in this wonderful hobby and so long as the enthusiasm is still there night after night, you - like me - will be out under the stars searching for the wealth of objects - some - millions of light years away- knowing that, when you find it and the "hunt" is over, you can move onto your next target.

Also, remember, think of it as not just "star gazing" but more of a wider experience - taking the first peak out of your window/door, seeing the sky beginning to clear with night time approaching, the long slog begins. trip after trip - inside for bits to take outside, setting the tripod up, yeah I know spending time levelling pointing the EQ mounts North then tripping over the tripod and having to do it all again - tell me I'm not the only one that does it - I know more than once - then waiting for the planets to pop out over the tree line and high enough in the sky to begin to see hints of detail - you get the picture.

Hope that helps a little Maclean and really enjoy your time at the scope and remember these objects that we are all looking for are very distant and very faint and that we all struggle under light polluted skies but dont let this put you off - keep at it mate - enjoy. Paul.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find M31 a bit of a let down too, I find it looks better through binoculars, although still looks like a oval light grey smoke patch to me with zero detail. Apparently from a real dark site more detail shows up as from light polluted areas you only see the central regions. Never seen it with the naked eye.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think inevitably its the LP causing your disappointment. My home has a pretty bad case of light polluted sky and most of my garden illuminated by a sodium lamp. I can see Andromeda as a bit of a blurry patch through the 130mm scope and spending a long time at the eyepiece accentuates a fuzzy 'eggy' core. However chuck the LP filter on and things get a little more discernable, a faint outline of a larger structure becomes apparent but an untrained eye wouldn't recognise it really as a dust lane. The problem really is the site I should think. You try and look at something bright behind a torch or light and you will find it becomes almost invisible, this is the effect the light pollution gives as the core of Andromeda is very bright but of course the lanes of dust are less so and its getting swamped out. Get to a dark site and I am certain you will be impressed!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your balanced responses!

I have been in the middle of a Moroccan desert and looked up and can honestly say its the type of sight that made me sit down with how amazing it was. You start to see so many stars, they start merging and the whole sky starts looking like a cloud of stars rather than a few individual ones.... If only I had been into astronomy before going and had a telescope (or even some binoculars) at that time!

My gut is telling me I am missing out on a lot of detail on this one, I don't know when I'm going to get to my dark site but when I do I will post back here a written comparison. The difference between looking up in a city in UK and the desert in Morocco was such a huge difference that I can't help but believe it must be the same when using a telescope. Here's hoping anyway!

Thanks for your input everyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LP will be wiping out all but the central bulge only, the arms are where the interesting bits are.

The scope is also not displaying the whole galaxy and so not showing the full extent of the arms, you are seeing about 2/3 of Andromeda.

25mm eyepiece in your scope gives a view of very close to 1 degree, Andromeda is 1.5 degrees across. So you are only seeing 2/3 of it. Even a 32mm eyepiece will not show all of Andromeda in your scope.

The "magnitude" of Andromeda is the sum of the light off of the whole thing, being big, that means the light is spread out, so in reality it has a low surface brightness. Basically it is DIM, very DIM.

The 6mm eyepiece is easiest described as completely blumming useless with your scope on Andromeda. You will be looking at just

1/6 of it, and the brightness will be worse then looking by eye. You are collecting about 800x, maybe 1000x, what the eye gathers on your 200 at night, but then spreading it out over an area of 40,000 times. So a lot dimmer At that reduction in brightness there is insufficent contrast for the eye to see or pick out anything.

Thinking in terms of magnification is of no help at all. Forget magnification.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People sometimes ask if an object like M31 would look like the photo's on the web if you got in a spaceship and went there. Sadly no, as you get closer it becomes bigger but the light becomes more spread out (dimmer). The best up close view of a galaxy is our own milky way. You don't need to travel too far from urban areas for the view to improve greatly. Mark 1 eyeball object :)

Edited by alexog
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 6mm eyepiece is easiest described as completely blumming useless with your scope on Andromeda. You will be looking at just

1/6 of it, and the brightness will be worse then looking by eye.

Well yeh, I was expecting something that would fill my 25mm eyepiece and got what you can see above...

I was actually thinking maybe I'm not looking in the right area, but checked many times and I was definitely looking at M31... But I always usually try all my eyepieces out anyway just encase I see something I was missing in another one lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you are seeing is typical of an 8" scope at a light polluted site. also, the currently light nights are also polluted by (actual) light too making the situation even worse. I live 8 miles from Manchester and the LP is pretty bad. I have a 16" scope and the view is much better at home and wonderful at a dark site - as will your scope be. for a galaxy Andromeda does show a lot of detail but even then it's not masses. still think it's an amazing sight though with three galaxies in one view.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you are seeing is typical of an 8" scope at a light polluted site......

I'd agree with that. I have a 10" and I don't see much more than that. Galaxies fascinating objects when you know a bit about what you are looking at but to the lay person or the newcomer to the hobby they will generally underwhelm, even the brightest ones (galaxies not people !)

Really dark skies have a fairly dramatic effect on these faint, extended objects. Low power, wide angle eyepieces and dark, transparent skies can make M31 and it's neighbours look much more interesting. High power eyepieces are not the way to go here - M31's full extent is larger than 6 full moons !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing not mentioned yet is the difference between star clusters and other similar objects that show individulal stars or detail and what you can make of the Andromeda galaxy, is distance. The former are distant but within our own galaxy, the Milky Way. By contrast, M31 is a completely separate galaxy, almost infinitely further away making it impossible to see individual stars visually in pretty much any amateur telescope regardless of sky conditions. :smiley:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's typical under LP. I see it much larger but I can only detect one dust lane with my 8" on the best of nights. (I live in a place with mild LP and can easily detect stars around 5.5 mag with the naked eye.)

I think the problem is, galaxies are the objects that appears most different from the pictures. Unless you have a large scope (14" +) coupled with some very dark skies, you'll always find the view a little underwhelming. Even on bigger scopes only some galaxies will show detail, instead of looking like a faint patch of light. On the other hand, they are my favorite objects, because of the challenge of finding them and what they are in themselves. I said it a few times here, I never got to be disappointed with galaxies because, when I ordered the scope, I always imagined they ware impossible to see unless you had a large scope on top of a mountain. I was quite pleased to find I could see them from my backyard, even if the view was pale in comparison to the pictures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

its another galaxy populated by millions of other suns and who knows other planets with life as well.a lot of things will look a bit "meh" to be honest but there is still nothing more amazing than seeing them for real at the eyepiece.the only other way is to have a go at astrophotgraphy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to say thanks for the Night Sky Simulator link. Spent ages playing with it yesterday along side OS/Googlemaps. I'd take the results with a pinch of salt though, it doesn't seem to account for topography. As I suspected the Llyn Peninsular in N. Wales looks good (Bortle 1 at the tip?).

Don't give up on galaxies just yet from light polluted skies. When the sky is very transparent (little dust and moisture) there isn't much for the LP to reflect off. From my heavily light polluted skies I've seen the Milky Way. Many years ago I'm sure I saw the Zodiacal Light, the light was so obvious I did a little sketch and the next day looked in my books (pre-interweb). The sky was so dark that night it was like all the street lights had been turned off!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a 200p and can say with wide field EP, 32mm and on edge of a large town it is a good sight.

Try some averted vision techniques. If anything its a wow factor to get an idea of how big it is in the sky!

I was at a dark sky site on Fri, managed to get this shot before the cloud rolled in. This is 3Min exposure at Iso800.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7125/7612371312_debd983c04_c_d.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.