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Impatience or stupidity? :-)


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Alright, after two days of NOT finding M27 I aimed to look for M51 tonight.

Apparently navigation across the sky - even being a newbie - was pretty good. Certainly found The Big Bear and below slighly fainter starsign of the Hunting Dogs. Slighly further up left I found a nice double star 15 & 17 CVn.

From there I believed its only a small step to finally get my eyes on another galaxy other than blurry Andromeda - but was only a thought.

Little higher up from the double star I found Hipparcos 64540 and 19, 20, 23 CVn sitting on top. I extended the virtual line between Hip 64540 and 19 CVn all the way up to Hip 65230 & 65135 and finally ended up,at Hip 65550....well this should have been the end of my journey with M51 only a tiny bit higher up (thts what my star app says)..but could not find it at all. Gave up after 30 mins browsing between Hip 65550 and 24 CVn.

What am I doing wrong guys?

Wrong optics (200/1200 dob)?

Wrong EP (10mm and 25mm Stargazer kit EP)

Too much LP (Thatcham semi-countryside)

I am finally getting more and more confident to find my way across the sky, even do find objects again I observed before but regarding galaxies or nebulars I just dont have any luck :-/

Well, at least had a nice view on another double star I will definerly find again and - after 2 days absence - did have a lovely and clear view at Saturn.

Good Night!

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Hi, probably more like light pollution and summer twilight. I find there is a small window of darkness in summer to view the fainter objects. After 1:00 - 3:00 AM at 4:00 birds sing and the sky is light. Your kit is fine for finding them I would think.

Cheers Carl

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Just been out and looked but only with binoculars, not sure.

Checked Stellarium and M51 is fairly small and also dim close to Mag 10.

Used binoculars as the lights here are turned off and where I might expect M51 to be is what appears to be a dim star. Wondering if this is M51 as the small size would produce a star like dot/point.

I would expect your problem to be light pollution or at least the fact that the sky is never really dark.

Not sure about the eyepieces, catch you have is first you have to find it, or be pretty sure you have, then you need to up the magnification in order to show a bit of a disk and not a point. Also you need to swap eyepieces while keeping what you hope to be M51 in the view.

Better eyepieces can only help, just not sure they would make M51 immediatly visible for you.

Anyone local you could borrow say an 8mm plossl off of, and a 15mm or 20mm plossl?

Does it have to be M51 ?

It is reasons like this that I like goto's.

Edited by ronin
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M51 is quite faint despite it's "fame". With my 4" refractor it appears as two small ghostly "eyes" of fuzzy light. Thats on a pretty dark night. On nights like the ones we have been having lately my 12" scope struggles to show much of it. Under a really dark sky the 12" will show it's spiral structure.

I have seen it with 15x70 binoculars, again on a dark night. A small fuzzy spot of light in the right place is the best I've managed with those. Galaxy hunting can be a tough sport, especially during the light summer nights !

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If you were between Hip 65550 and 24 CVn the M51 should have been there, just a bit below the mid point.

Not sure how bright either 65550 or 66234 (24CVn) appeared but M51 would appear less then 1/4 as bright (I think it is 1/4).

And being a small disk not a point this brightness is spread over an area so the surface brightness is less still, willing to bet you lost it in the background or simply didn't register it.

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Galaxies are hard to spot. They take a bit of practice. Once you have seen them and know what to look for it becomes easier.

When I have shown people this before they initially cannot see what I can on a first view but once they see it they then can spot it easily but say wow that is very faint..

So take your time. Keep scanning with your 25mm eyepiece and you will spot it.

Your looking for a very faint pair of dim smudges!

Mark

Sent from my BlackBerry 9320 using Tapatalk

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Your optics and set up are fine. An 8" scope will easily pick out M51, the trouble is seeing it. As as been said, the sky must be dark. Ths is THE most important factor when galaxy hunting.

What you are often looking for is a slight brightening of the sky. M51 often looks like two small faint blurs just brighter than the sky background. Easy to miss. Only when at a really dark site will any detail start to emerge.

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Alright then...perhaps I should move the dob out of my garden and deeper into the countryside. Did check the light pollution maps available, between Highclere and all the way down to Stonehenge seems to be the darkest spots around. Just need to find a location to setup.

Any recommendations?

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I live only a few miles north of Thatcham, and have a poor view to the N due to vast amounts of sodium lighting. Even so, on dark nights (not mid-summer!) with good sky transparency, M51 is easy even in my 5" scope. In fact, I often look at it with my 15x70s and occasionally see the double structure.

So, keep trying - you need a good night - and frankly nearly any scope, even with cheap EPs, will do to see M51.

Chris

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I don't think it's stupidity - I've not seen a galaxy since early spring. I'm guessing that Newbury wasn't too different to Reading, and here there was a lot of thin, high cloud - just a haze really, but it was reflecting light pollution like a... orangey reflecting thing. On the few occasions I've had better views of galaxies the sky has been very dark, and very clear. I think you really need that contrast.

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Yep, what that lot said!

Impatience or stupidity? Neither!

I have an 8" dob. There are nights when I give up looking for it too, especially when it's close to the zenith.

I can't say I've tried lately, I've been in bed before it has been really dark. I haven't had a really transparent night for months, so usually I've managed (only) a small fuzzy blob with another slightly smaller fuzzy blob next to it.

On one very good night I did think I might have seen some faint structure, but it was more a variation in the fuzziness rather than definite spirals.

Give it a couple of months and try again! Happy hunting.

Cheers

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Alright then...perhaps I should move the dob out of my garden and deeper into the countryside. Did check the light pollution maps available, between Highclere and all the way down to Stonehenge seems to be the darkest spots around. Just need to find a location to setup.

Any recommendations?

Darker skies will always be better but at this time of year it's going to be hard to find them :(. Even last night with no moon at a little after midnight, I looked out the bedroom window and could clearly see the goal posts and the play thingy on the field over my back fence. the play thingy is about 200-300 mtrs away and I could see every piece of equiptment very clearly. As hard as it is....the waiting game really is your best option.....sorry
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Not overly sure how clear it was last night.

I could see a good collection of stars but by 1:30 there wasa thickening of cloud. Not a moving in more as said a thickening, so I wonder if some of that wasn't present all the time.

As to locations not a clue but I see you are close to the A4 to Hungerford is there no where along there that is a bit off the road, alternatively the Highclere-Andover road (not A34) looks as if it could hold hope.

Either will need you to have a drive along and keep a look out for somewhere.

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I had a quick go last night, it was very poor in Bristol except a brief spell high up in the sky. The last half decent night I remember since I started was back in May. I guess I am begining to learn and realise how bad it is aroud the summer solstice, but I also feel it has much to do with the sky condtions of late, just a lot of hazy weather and high thin clouds here. It may not be the best time of year, not getting dark properly, but yet I feel there is still some stuff to see, if you wait for those few hours of darkness and when the sky conditions play ball, but transparency has just been poor, more like an opague curtain lately :)

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Sky is still light even at midnight so it does make finding fuzzys very difficult. The surrounding villages Kintbury, Inkpen, Ashford hill etc are good providing when it gets darker on due to lack of street lighting. You could try Combe Gibbet as it is elevated just mind the Ravers and 'dog walkers'

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I was out last night, and saw a couple of nebulae - the Ring Nebula, which is nice and bright, and, to my surprise, the Omega nebula (though I saw nothing of the Eagle Nebula nearby). I'd go for the Ring Nebula, it's fairly easy to find, and nice and high.

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I find M81 and M82 in Ursa Major pretty easy to spot. They were the 1st galaxies I saw 30 years back with my old Tasco 60m refractor and still my favourite pair today. I've just been out for 15 mins and managed to pick them up with 15x70 binoculars.

They are fairly easy to find by using the two stars Phad and Dubhe in the "bowl" of Ursa Major as pointers. A low power eyepiece shows both galaxies in the same field of view - I love these "two for the price of one" deals :smiley:

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I was out last night but looking mainly at planetary nebulae and clusters.

Didn't really fancy my chances at galaxies with a 4" refractor (and probably still wouldn't with the C11) at this time of year.

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I went out to Walbury hill - just along from Combe Gibbet, so not far from you dark_marc - last night. Fantastic! Dark enough that I could follow the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. The darkest skies I've seen in a long time. It was a little murky near the horizon, though, in the scope.

I was deliberately trying to see as much as I could in Sagittarius. Managed to see M8, M16-18, M20-M25, M54 (just - this was about as far south as I could get), and several other NGCs. All nebulae were pretty visible apart from the Eagle nebula, which was really just a hint - though I don't think I've the aperture to really resolve them, except the Omega nebula which showed a nice 'tick' of nebulosity.

I also saw M5, M4 (which wasn't great, I think due to low haze. I've had better views of it sneaking between trees/buildings in Reading!), M15, M56-57, M31-32 & M110.

Frankly, from there, at about 0100-0200, I don't think you'd have a problem with the brighter galaxies. Blooming late, though!

Full description here:

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Saw M13 last night around 23:00 although wasn't really clear. I'm in a fairly remote countryside location and still bad lp.

Must say I don't think I would have found it with my old 10" dob as it was so faint, lucky the goto points you at it

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As John says, M81 and M82 are much easier. This week I could just make out the twin smudges of M51 in my 14" but not in my 120mm. M51 is (about 1/4 the distance from Alkaid to Cor Caroli (a nice double star). About 2/3 the distance is M63 (Sunflower Galaxy) which I could detect in my 120mm.

Patience and practice will improve matters. Galaxies are at the limit of vision and will often pop out as you look away from them (averted vision), but I find it impossible to make out any detail or even sometimes the exact location of an object with this technique.

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