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M31 Telrad map viewing


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Didnt want to hijack someone elses thread so here goes with a question.

Having had a look at the telrad map, http://www.solarius.net/assets/finder_charts/messier_31.pdf mainly because I wanted to go find andromeda, I noticed another very interesting object in the map.

Just down left of andromeda 3 inch by 3 inch, you find the pinwheel galaxy, M33. How easy is that going to be to spot and will my 130EQ scope with stock 10mm EP be up to the job for viewing it?

I have looked on web for some references and found some fantastic pics.

any thoughts

Steve

ps guys, hope you dont mind me asking so many questions, early days and thirst for knowledge and all that. I am sure you have all been there.........

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Steve, you have to remember the lovely photos you see of these Galaxies have been taken with cameras using multi exposures over long periods of time, from dark sites. M33 in Triangulum is reputed to be a bit difficult to find the first time you look for it, due to its low surface brightness and large angular size, which causes it to blend into the background sky glow, a widefield low power eye piece is recommended, as it is said to cover about the same area as the Moon but many times fainter. I have not seen it myself but intend to have a look this Winter with my observing buddy, from our dark site, if ever the weather will permit. I am sure someone who has observed it, will be along to give you some first hand information in due course. But remember, a very dark site is half the battle in finding the faint fuzzies :)

John.

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M33 should be visible as a misty patch, depending on the amount of light pollution. Moonlight can be an issue. When viewing M31, can you see M32 (and M110)? If you can spot M32 then you should be able to see M33, which the same distance away from Mirach in the opposite to M31. While you are on Mirach itself, you may see the nearby (within 7 arc minutes) faint galaxy NGC 404, the Ghost of Mirach.

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I use Cassiopeia to find M31, took me a while to start with, then last week I spotted it with averted vision & got it straight away. I'v had it in the scope twice since then and find it quite easily, it is a smudge but the core stands out well & it impressed me, btw @Steve mines only a 130mm aswell.

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Hi

Its all about light pollution with M33. From LP skies this is a very hard object. I think Chris is referring to Andromedas other companion M110 as a reference to whether or not you'll be able to see it, M32 is small and with quite high surface brightness making it quite easily spotted from even moderately LP locations, M110 is much tougher.

M33 doesn't need big aperture it needs dark skies. This is where most newbies slip up believing that they need a bigger scope when a trip to darker skies will do much, much more. From ink black skies some can see it with the naked eye. From a site with heavy LP you'll not see it in any scope regardless of aperture, as it simply melts into the sky glow and disappears.

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I can just about see m33 from my back yard with a limit of around mag 5.

Look for a group of stars that look like a Nike swoosh and a triangle with a double star at its tip. It's inbetween those.

It just looks like a patch of very slightly brighter sky.

Edited by Spec-Chum
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Alot of objects really are faint fuzzies that your eyes will just detect as a faint wisp compared to the back ground sky, use the lowest power EP you have, roughly point the Telrad in the general direction then just sweep around until you can find it. Some objects dont respond well to higher magnifications (like M33) but if you do a little research into the objects you plan to view then you'll soon have a rough idea what you'll see when you look through the EP.

Planning makes a huge difference, scribble some notes (object magnitude/surface brightness) onto the Telrad map which will help you when your out with the scope and as others mention dark skies are really important with galaxies. just wait until the spring and Virgo comes around....more galaxies than you can shake a wonky stick at! :grin:

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Everyone has rightly stressed how tricky M33 is, I managed to see it from my garden on a very good night and it looked like a smear on my eyepiece. I had to move the scope slightly to convince myself that I was actually seeing it.

BTW this was using the lowest power eyepiece I have, approx. 23.5x.

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M33 is tricky most of the time but when the transparency is good and the sky really dark it improves considerably. I had a night like that a few nights back and M33 looked really nice in just my 4" refractor - it seemed to have some shape of sorts and was much more extended than I've been used to. It was even visible in 7x35 binoculars on that particular occasion !

The above was a patrticularly good night though - on an average one M33 is an indistinct patch at best.

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Steve

Something else which I dont think gets talked about as much as it should do is getting a good observing 'technique' sorted out. If you are pointing your scope at challenging objects like M33 then some basics like these will make all the difference -

Look after your eyes, so really letting your eyes get dark adapted and using very dim red lights to read your Telrad map (dont let laptops/ipads/iphones anywhere near your eyes even if in night mode!).

Averted vision, when I first started I thought 'yeah yeah how much difference can it make?! Well it makes a HUGE difference! Scan the area until you think you found a faint smudge and try to position that smudge at 10 o'clock in your field of view, then dont touch your scope and let the object drift across that field of view while keeping your eye looking around the 1 oclock area. Out of the corner of your eye you'll see that object brighter than if you were looking straight at it.

In my 12" scope with direct vision in good skies I could see an oval smudge of M33, with dark adapted eyes and averted vision I could see the spiral arms!

If you do see a faint smudge of M33 then just think that those photons of light have been travelling for 3 million years just to hit your scope and into your eye, pretty mind blowing I reckon!! :)

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Apologies, again I have mixed up faint M110 and small M32 which is almost stellar like at low magnification. If you cannot see M110 (surface brightness 13.9) you are very unlikely to be able to find M33 (surface brightness 14.2).

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Steve

Something else which I dont think gets talked about as much as it should do is getting a good observing 'technique' sorted out. If you are pointing your scope at challenging objects like M33 then some basics like these will make all the difference -

Look after your eyes, so really letting your eyes get dark adapted and using very dim red lights to read your Telrad map (dont let laptops/ipads/iphones anywhere near your eyes even if in night mode!).

Averted vision, when I first started I thought 'yeah yeah how much difference can it make?! Well it makes a HUGE difference! Scan the area until you think you found a faint smudge and try to position that smudge at 10 o'clock in your field of view, then dont touch your scope and let the object drift across that field of view while keeping your eye looking around the 1 oclock area. Out of the corner of your eye you'll see that object brighter than if you were looking straight at it.

In my 12" scope with direct vision in good skies I could see an oval smudge of M33, with dark adapted eyes and averted vision I could see the spiral arms!

Some very good points there and thanks for the tips. I think my viewing from where I live is going to be limited to the brigter objects due to a huge amount of light polution.

However 3 miles from me is a Moor Top called Crown Point and this lies miles from any LP and is also about 300M above see level so I intend getting myself up there one night in right conditions and seeing what I can view. M33 will be on my radar though :p

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I recently went to a new dark site near me (well darker than my garden) and im sure i saw stars around Orion that id never seen before. I think my garden is pretty dark though. Just stay safe when you go out on your own. I always try to take a friend, or try to let someone know that i am out, and where i am.

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ive viewed m33 about half a dozen times but at best a grey oval faint patch is all i can describe each time. as so often mentioned on the forums dark skies count for alot in this game and i susspect m33 is a obvious object to show just how much so. i cant wait to see it from a low light polluted area and compare.

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