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andrew63

A Century of Fuzzies

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A good crisp night, not really velvet black though -  a bit of high haze would come and go.  Looking around the Coma/Virgo border for new Messier objects.

Started around 9.30 when the area had climbed a little higher and mainly used a 16mm x45 eyepiece. First off with M85 - just a roundish smudge and increasing the magnification a little on several objects did not improve the view - perhaps the conditions were not ideally transparent. Did not notice NGC 4394.  Moved down to M60 and M59 which i had seen before to find M58 - again  just a circular smudge. Then a little hop to M89 which when writing this becomes my 100th Messier ! Although nothing more than a haze smudge close to a star - stellar  like.  About a degree up to M90 a diffuse  patch than along to M86 and M84 which were seen close together in the field and seen as quite distinct round blobs, part of the Markarian's Chain  - a nice view to end the night !

andrew

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Yes Andrew, the area around Markarians's Chain is a wonderful area, especially if you have aperture.

Barry

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100!! Congratulations. And what a great area of the sky to do it in (I'm a few behind you)!

I spent time playing in this area last night as well. It was the first revisit since an epic 15 new Messier night a month or so ago where I bagged all of the M's in that area. It was really nice to take a bit of time to take in the detail and be amazed at how many of the slightly out of focus stars in a wide field eyepiece, actually turn out to be little galaxies with a bit more magnification.

Bet that you can't wait for the rematch.

Paul

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Very beautiful night, even a farewell view of The SN in M82, very faint,

Nick.

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The double star, a couple from Coma, a couple from Sagittarius  and two from low down in Hydra !

andrew

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M40 (the double star) is quite easy, Coma is well placed at the moment, so you should be able to mop those up. the two low in Hydra can be a pain. I cheated by seeing them from down-under ;)

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Only a few days ago I wondered what M40 was seeing I noted I had not observed it to date and did so. Not too surprisingly it is not often mentioned and rather underwhelming.  More of a ticking the box exercise. Never read up on that one but wondered why it entered the catalogue at all. 

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Only a few days ago I wondered what M40 was seeing I noted I had not observed it to date and did so. Not too surprisingly it is not often mentioned and rather underwhelming.  More of a ticking the box exercise. Never read up on that one but wondered why it entered the catalogue at all. 

I verified the identification by spotting a nearby NGC. Despite being only mag 12.8 or so, it was more interesting than M40 itself

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I can see how those two in Hydra can be a pain. I managed to bag the globular M68 last night but it was so washed out against the grey horizon that it was only just visible as a slightly greyer smudge.

M83 is even lower and being a galaxy I'm wondering if its even going to be possible at uk latitudes? Such a small window of opportunity as well - around midnight to 1am in april looks to be the best chance.

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M83 is always difficult but visible from southern UK, its quite bright but also large so you need a really transparent sky, although further south its lucky that M7 is a really bright open cluster.

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I can see how those two in Hydra can be a pain. I managed to bag the globular M68 last night but it was so washed out against the grey horizon that it was only just visible as a slightly greyer smudge.

M83 is even lower and being a galaxy I'm wondering if its even going to be possible at uk latitudes? Such a small window of opportunity as well - around midnight to 1am in april looks to be the best chance.

That's why I observed it near zenith in April down-under. Even then it is a difficult fuzzy patch in averted vision with 15x70 bins. I might give it a shot from a really dark site with my C8 should we get a good clear spell in April

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Stupid southern M question here. I may have totally misunderstood how these things work.....

If I were to carefully throw my scope in the car and head for the south coast at the right time of year. Set up on top of a cliff and didn't get blown away. Would they be easy spots??

How far would I have to drive to get an extra degree at the zenith?

Paul

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Sorry Andrew. I've pushed your thread even further of topic. Didn't even think until after I hit post.

Hope that you don't mind.

Paul

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for every 1 degree gain in height above the horizon you would have too drive 1 degree south. in mileage terms its about 69 miles as the crow flies 

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for every 1 degree gain in height above the horizon you would have too drive 1 degree south. in mileage terms its about 69 miles as the crow flies 

South of France, here I come!!! Seriously, a trip to the south coast might well be in order, I think that Lizard is the most southerly point on mainland UK.

Paul

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Sorry Andrew. I've pushed your thread even further of topic. Didn't even think until after I hit post.

Hope that you don't mind.

Paul

No problem. I'm at about 51.5 lat. and can see M7 quite well from the garden.  From your location you should be fine for the southern ones - just need a clear horizon and a clear atmosphere - it's the seeing conditions that are important looking through the murk !

andrew

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No problem. I'm at about 51.5 lat. and can see M7 quite well from the garden.  From your location you should be fine for the southern ones - just need a clear horizon and a clear atmosphere - it's the seeing conditions that are important looking through the murk !

andrew

Splendid. I've got a feeling that its will take most of the summer to track these down.

But at least I know that it is possible :)

Paul

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Only a few days ago I wondered what M40 was seeing I noted I had not observed it to date and did so. Not too surprisingly it is not often mentioned and rather underwhelming.  More of a ticking the box exercise. Never read up on that one but wondered why it entered the catalogue at all. 

Hevelius claimed there was an object in the area, Messier checked it out and found only a double star. People tend to think Messier's list consisted entirely of faint fuzzies he discovered, when actually it was things he knew about (and in some cases discovered) that either were, or had been thought to be, faint fuzzies - or in one case (Pleiades) was simply a list-filler. Also, the last few in the list were added by 20th-century astronomers, being objects that Messier is believed to have discovered or known about, but neglected to include. No one thought to put the Double Cluster in there because Messier and everyone else knew about it (it's an easy naked-eye object) and Messier never bothered to use it as a list filler.

One or two of Messier's non-discovered objects get attributed to their actual discoverers (e.g. "Bode's Nebula", M81, or "Ptolemy's Cluster", M7) but most don't. We could easily have called M1 "Bevis's Nebula" rather than Crab, or M13 "Halley's glob".

Like Messier, Herschel had a fondness for round numbers (only more so), so published his lists in three sets of 1000, 1000 and 500 objects, holding things back until he had a round set (and holding back a few completely so as not to go over 500 in the last list). Unlike Messier he only included objects he had personally discovered. Like Messier's list, there are various anomalies and non-existent objects - more so in Herschel's case because the lists are so large. First person to try and re-observe them all was Herschel's son John. First person to actually do it was possibly Bigourdan, who observed all the NGC objects above his horizon (more than 6000) and measured their positions - discovering quite a lot of new ones in the process.

To paraphrase Newton, we rest our telescopes on the shoulders of giants.

Edited by acey
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