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Paul73

Spiral Arms / Galaxy Detail???

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Along with pretty much anybody who has gazed through a scope on the majesty of a distant galaxy, I have found myself pondering...... "Wot No Spiral Arms"????

Sometimes I think that I can see the suggestion of spirals in a couple of galaxies. Often I can pick up an interesting dust lane, texture or some interesting shapes. I was wondering what others regard a their galaxies with the "best chance of spirals/texture/lumps" ?

For me, through my 10" Dob, the favourites are.

BEST CHANCE OF SPIRALS:

M51 in Ursa Major - The Wirlpool - interconnecting pair with two cores

BEST DUST LANES:

M64 in Coma Berenices - The Black Eye - like the name says. Check out NGC4565 and 4559 while you are there (no real dust lanes but lovely sights)

BEST LUMPY BUMPIES:

M82 - in Ursa Major - bags of blotchy black texture in a bright long irregular shape (M81 & NGC3077 should be visible in the same widefield view.)

NGC4631 - in Canis Venatici just above Coma Berenices - The Whale - long and lumpy with the parallel companion NGC4656 in the same view.

NGC4490/85 - in Canis Vetanici - The Cocoon - Looks like a single bi-lobed Galaxy.

NGC3226/27 - in Leo - More interacting galaxies. Fainter and smaller than the others, but I like it!

Any more for any more?

Paul

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Nice one Paul.

The Needle Galaxy was pretty spectacular I must admit

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Not sure if it helps but I'd also include Messier's M 33, M 61, M 63, M 64, M 88, M 91, M 96, M 99, M 100, M 101, M 104. All of these I find reveal more than a merely stellar core surrounded by a lighter textured halo. Sure, they're not all revealing arms, but there are interesting features to tweak from them.  If you're out, NGC 4725 is also interesting. The other night I could discern two arm or disc like features framing the galaxy.

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Not sure if it helps but I'd also include Messier's M 33, M 61, M 63, M 64, M 88, M 91, M 96, M 99, M 100, M 101, M 104. All of these I find reveal more than a merely stellar core surrounded by a lighter textured halo. Sure, they're not all revealing arms, but there are interesting features to tweak from them.  If you're out, NGC 4725 is also interesting. The other night I could discern two arm or disc like features framing the galaxy.

Good call re the Messiers. NGC4725 is a good one in Coma. In that region, have you tried NGC4559 a couple of degrees up from the Needle?

Paul

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For Messiers M108 shows a fair amount of knotty structure too in my 10" scope. Plus it makes a really nice pair with M97 in the same field.

If your skies are good and dark M106 shows a wealth of detail, looking like a french curve. Not forgetting M94 the 'crocs eye' nice and bright with some hints of detail. :)

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dont get me wrong seeing structure in anything is pretty awesome, but  hunting the faintest galaxy your aperture can detect is just as fun.There is endless amounts of galaxys that show detail, its getting the dark skys and clear skys thats the problem. not everyone can travel and not every one has dark skys. im sure someone cataloged the best galaxy's to see somewhere. NGC4449 is a nice and bright and you can pick out bright  regions on the outer edge.

Edited by Daniel-K
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Couldn't agree more Dan!

I love the Galaxy clusters which generally involves hours at the eyepiece trying to pick out targets right on the edge of vision.

But, there are times when working the last bit of detail out of a brighter target is just the thing.

I'll revisit NGC4449.

Paul

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NGC 4449 is an irregular galaxy, it is resolvable into stars, if you give it dark sky and magnification.

One of the most stunning sights was the spiral arms on M33. We were 35 miles from any lights, hurrah !

Dust lanes can be often made out from town in the brighter ones,

Nick.

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I agree generally with your list Paul :smiley:

Under dark skies I've picked out some interesting structure and detail from M33 and M101. The former shows it's HII regions with my 12" scope at low power. M101 was showing an extended mottled halo and hints of spiral structure with the same scope at SGLX last week. I expect the folks with bigger guns saw even more :smiley:

I viewed M51 with a 20" scope at the SGLX location a few years back and the sprial structure was completely "in your face" as were knots in the arms etc, etc :smiley:

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M101 can provide nice spirals as well as M33. These 2 in addition to M51 are my "spiral" targets in my 10" from dark skies. For dust lanes M31 is king for me and the Needle galaxy is another favorite.

The nicest galaxy group in the 10" is Markarians Chain IMHO, during the season I view it over and over, one of my goto, "must see" spots when sky cruising. There are so many great objects out there it is mind boggling.

One of the hardest to see in my scope is Stephans Quintet, or 3 of the galaxy cores anyway and this group is near another favorite NGC 7331, a bright, nice galaxy.

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Another vote for NGC7331. It has four nearby companions (NGC 7335, 7336, 7337 7340, known collectively as the Fleas), None are easy in a 10" dob.

NGC2903 in Leo is a good target for this time of year.

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For those who like edge-on galaxies like NGC4565 (a group which definitely includes me), there is a good article in the March 2015 Sky and Telescope magazine about edge-on's visible at this time of year.

I had a go at some of them a couple of weeks ago, including  NGC5746 in Virgo, NGC3628 in Leo and NGC5907 in Draco. All were well worth seeing.

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You really do have to catch them high in the sky without LP and in good transparency. At lower elevations spiral structure takes a hammering.

When M101 is perfectly placed the spirals are marvellous because of two bright patches further out from the core than I always expect. When you have these and the core you can usually find the rest.

Olly

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M101. Good call. Nicely placed at this time of the year.

There are 3 or 4 little faint companions in the same 2° field of view to add a bit more interest.

Paul

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I think olly makes a good point about the object being high in the sky, with a dark site, and good transparency. Sometimes though the best we can get is the height and picking a good clear night. M33 and m51 are two objects for me which get destroyed by the urban sky but come to life when you get out of town. M31 is also a good target but is a bit to big to get into the eyepiece so the spiral structure can be clearly seen, its often just a dark lane which is apparent but would be better if the object was more compact.

There is aperture of course which adds a great deal but I think 16 inches and above is where the detail comes more apparent, but that can limit the ease at which you can get out under a dark sky.

Cheers

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dont get me wrong seeing structure in anything is pretty awesome, but  hunting the faintest galaxy your aperture can detect is just as fun.There is endless amounts of galaxys that show detail, its getting the dark skys and clear skys thats the problem. not everyone can travel and not every one has dark skys. im sure someone cataloged the best galaxy's to see somewhere. NGC4449 is a nice and bright and you can pick out bright  regions on the outer edge.

Excellent post Dan.

I do love spotting structure in galaxies, but got a real kick out of spotting Stephan's Quintet in the 12". Couldn't see any more detail with the 16", as the local dark sky quality deteriorated. I know that people have split the Quintet with a 16" before in a semi-rural sky.... :)

Bookmarked this thread for when I get out there with the scope again....some great suggestions and stuff to revisit...

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we had a bash at copelands septet at sgl x...now that was a challenge!

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MDstuart Mark was driving mine and steve's 20"...there was at least 2...or maybe 3 in the ep but it wasnt the best of conditions,plus the vodka was flowing!

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There was a spell on the Friday night at SGLX when it was nice and transparent for a couple of hours. I took the opportunity to explore Markarian's Chain with my 12" dob. In one section I had 10/11 galaxies in the one field of view. Mostly faint patches of light but it put a big grin on my face thinking about the combined number of stars light that was coming down my scopes tube at that moment :grin:

I'm now waiting to see how well I can do on them from my back yard :rolleyes2:

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Those are some seriously faint targets. getting any more than two or three would be one hell of a result (even in Steve's beast.

Paul

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I agree with John that M33 shows structure under really good conditions. A filter can help with this too.

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NGC891 one of John Dobson favorites and mine. Together with NGC 4565 two of the best edge on galaxies. Using different magnifications in a stable dark sky you can get lots of structure.

M33 is mind blowing arms blobs nebulae (NGC604). M31 remarkable suttle dust lanes and its own NGC206.

I will make a list out of this thread.

Edited by Scosmico
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Brilliant thread and enough examples of what to see to keep going for a fair time.

Now, let's see

Telescope. Check

Moon missing for a while. Check

Nice and dark outside. Check

100% cloud cover. Check

B****r

Allan

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