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Messier 61


andrew63
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Not having done much observing in the Virgo area and only observed a few of messier objects so far decided to have a look for M61 tonight . My southern horizon suffers a bit from sky glow below the bowl of virgo so this rich region is not great.

It is helped by being quite isolated from the main group of messier galaxies to the north for identification purposes. I normally use pocket sky atlas but found the more detailed finder charts in observers sky atlas more useful. Once identified the field and the guide star about half a degree from M61 i waited. Nothing with a 26mm x27. Switched to an 13mm x55 and began to see a slight glow and was happy after a few minutes with the observation. Looked again at x27 and could now also see the galaxy - it was slightly darker 10.45 but also was now aware of what i was looking for. It was a fairly bigger patch than i expected and quite uniform and roundish - in appearance it was 'similar' to the view of M97 the owl nebular i was looking at a couple of night ago.

Much more to explore in this region, even with a small telescope, but i find this area of sky quickly passes as the long summer nights approach.

andrew

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Congrats on finding M61.

Virgo can be a bit confusing to start with. The sparseness of good stellar reference points and the sheer number of galaxies can be a bit overwhelming.

I find a good start point Epsilon Virginis (Vindemiatrix) and moving West towards M60, M59 and M58 which appear all in a line. The first two of these are quite close together to further help with bearings.

Happy hunting!

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Thanks - although i found 59 and 60 last season, did not find Messier 58 and together with M90 will need some transparent seeing as i note they both have a surface brightness of 13.

andrew

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