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I'm having trouble finding galaxies.  I've tried seeing whirlpool galaxy pinwheel galaxy andromeda galaxy and bodes nebula and maybe I need a lower mag eyepiece?  Or maybe my scope is out.  I've added a red dot finder now and I still have to do a little tweak when I send my goto scope to objects.....like the moon and Jupiter.   So I'm worried that when I send the scope to a galaxy that the scope is slightly out which means I'm just not looking quite in the right part of the sky to see the galaxy.  Or is it that my eyepiece is too high?  I'm using a 25mm eyepiece in a skywatcher 127 syncsan. 

Edited by g30rg313
Mistyped

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Assuming that your goto gives consistent results - try goto on some named stars such as castor,Pollux, Polaris, Rigel - the objects should appear at same location in your eyepiece field of view (may not be the centre but should be the same area of field of view each time).

...now goto a galaxy of your choice (m31, m82, m81) and look to the same area of the field of view in your eyepiece...    you should see a faint smudge?

 

Or maybe the MOON could be your issue, it is best to try galaxies on a moon free night, they are faint objects?

 

hope this helps,

Alan

 

 

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A couple of ideas.  First, you may well be seeing the galaxies and not realizing it, as what you are seeing is a faint grey smudge, not a big colorful swirl.  I know that I've gone back and forth over an object many times before finally recognizing it as being much smaller, bigger or dimmer than I expected.

Second, galaxies are about as bright as the Milky Way (over a much smaller area), so if the Milky Way is bright in your sky then galaxies will be relatively easy to see.  If the Milky Way is dim, due to light pollution, then it's going to be hard for you to see galaxies.  If you want to see DSO's go to the darkest possible sight, the difference it makes is tremendous.

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Andromeda is "difficult" as in general it will be too big to fit in your view. So instead of a galaxy you get a dullish blob (the core of the galaxy) and that looks nothing like what you expect. The best way to see Andromeda is with binoculars, they collect enough light and they have a big field of view, otherwise you need a magnification of 20x or less and an eyepiece with at least a 60 degree field, so BST, X-Cels, ES 68's, 82's etc

If the moon is up then it tends to wash galaxies out.

Try M33, M81, M87 as these have about the highest surface brightness, just do not expect glowing spiral arms of scintillating colours.

Anywhere as dark as possible helps enormously, sort of so dark you are scared should about do.

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I can relate to your frustration. I have spent several hours searching with binoculars and low power eyepieces on my frac during moonless nights. I have made out a possible smudge before but I seem to be otherwise blind or incapable of seeing them. I am looking to upgrade to a 250 reflector and use a combo of RDF and RACI finderscope to try and have a bit more success

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I have been looking into getting a 40mm ep and a focal reducer for my scope to assist in my search for dso's but I think I read somewhere that focal reducers will not work on SCT's.  Does that mean it will not work on my skywatcher skymax which is similar design to SCT mine is a maksutov cassegrain.

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The most important factor for seeing faint galaxies are dark sky, as many posts have pointed out.

If your backyard is not dark enough, framing M31 will not be a problem at all, because you'll be only to see its bright core, which is about 15', i.e half the size of the Moon.

I have to assume that M33 mentioned in Ronin's post is a typo, because M33 is one of the most challenging Messier Objects for backyard observers.

Acey's post here is a good guide for understanding the importance of sky.

https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/240725-what-is-a-dark-site/

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I seemed to have been confused for quite some time. I've always known a dark sky is essential, but always thought that galaxies would appear so small you would need a high mag to need any chance of picking one out. Maybe my 90mm frac just can't pick them up very well, even in a dark site

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4 minutes ago, Jimtheslim said:

I seemed to have been confused for quite some time. I've always known a dark sky is essential, but always thought that galaxies would appear so small you would need a high mag to need any chance of picking one out. Maybe my 90mm frac just can't pick them up very well, even in a dark site

Best way to hunt for them is under a dark sky with low power to give you a wide field view, makes finding them much easier. You can up the power once found to get to an optimum contrast depending upon the exit pupil you are using. 2mm exit pupil is often best for small galaxies and nebulae.

A 90mm frac will certainly show plenty under a dark sky, just use your lowest power and see how you go. M81 & 82 are some of the easiest to get.

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M81. M82, M31 are easily manageable - and the first two can be seen together.  You need to be using a 40, 32, or maybe 24mm EP, under dark conditions, and if you shut out light coming in from the sides, these galaxies will show up quite easily - but only as smudges.  The M31 is large, but you only see its core, which is small.  The other two look good together, and have distinctly different shapes.

Doug.

PS: If you try to magnify them up, you won't see any more detail, and will lose out on brightness.

Edited by cloudsweeper

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20 hours ago, Jimtheslim said:

I seemed to have been confused for quite some time. I've always known a dark sky is essential, but always thought that galaxies would appear so small you would need a high mag to need any chance of picking one out. Maybe my 90mm frac just can't pick them up very well, even in a dark site

As Stu has said, a low mag EP should do it in a dark site, where you should be able to see M31 and and M13 with naked eyes, if it's about NELM 6.0 or darker. An eyepiece given 50x should let you see all Messier galaxies except M105, its 2' size may need magnification 60x or little more to be readily seen.

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19 hours ago, cloudsweeper said:

 

PS: If you try to magnify them up, you won't see any more detail, and will lose out on brightness.

I was aware this would be the case, I just wasn't sure if I was in totally the wrong place or whether my scope just couldn't bring in enough light to see them. So the harder I looked for them with increased mag, the more I knew I was likely to miss them completely!

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I'd suggest to start with easier ones such as open clusters and globula clusters, M35, M37 M36 and M38 for the present. M36 specifically, it's 12' in size, and most Messier galaxies are around 5'-9' in size, with the same eyepeice, you'll have it somewhat eaiser looking for fainter fuzzies of half size of M36.

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22 hours ago, Jimtheslim said:

I seemed to have been confused for quite some time. I've always known a dark sky is essential, but always thought that galaxies would appear so small you would need a high mag to need any chance of picking one out. Maybe my 90mm frac just can't pick them up very well, even in a dark site

Hi Jim

Not sure I completely agree with the others. You are in fact not far away from the truth, in that most galaxies are pretty small and medium powers are better than low due to the added contrast they provide. You need image scale to pick out small objects. 
When using a low power it is very easy to miss small galaxies altogether. Your scope is not large enough for the field to become restrictive if you did decide to use medium powers to hunt for them, so I would suggest you use these, not low power.
Have fun out there :)  

Regards

 

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31 minutes ago, swamp thing said:

Hi Jim

Not sure I completely agree with the others. You are in fact not far away from the truth, in that most galaxies are pretty small and medium powers are better than low due to the added contrast they provide. You need image scale to pick out small objects. 
When using a low power it is very easy to miss small galaxies altogether. Your scope is not large enough for the field to become restrictive if you did decide to use medium powers to hunt for them, so I would suggest you use these, not low power.
Have fun out there :)  

Regards

 

Steve, of course you are right, but possibly you are thinking more of the kind of stuff you go chasing with your dob? Those are small and need power to find as you say. Most of the more 'normal' galaxies I would say don't necessarily need the power as they are bright enough, and a wider field makes it more likely to find them?

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On 3/16/2016 at 22:35, g30rg313 said:

I'm having trouble finding galaxies.  I've tried seeing whirlpool galaxy pinwheel galaxy andromeda galaxy and bodes nebula and maybe I need a lower mag eyepiece?  Or maybe my scope is out.  I've added a red dot finder now and I still have to do a little tweak when I send my goto scope to objects.....like the moon and Jupiter.   So I'm worried that when I send the scope to a galaxy that the scope is slightly out which means I'm just not looking quite in the right part of the sky to see the galaxy.  Or is it that my eyepiece is too high?  I'm using a 25mm eyepiece in a skywatcher 127 syncsan. 

have your tried a brighter target first like a open cluster or globular cluster to makes sure your goto is accurate on the night, you will find that solar system objects do tend to be out on the goto.

the thing with galaxies that any sort of LP will wash most of them out so you will have to try and pick the brightest ones to view and M51 can be tricky under LP. a 20mm EP with a FOV greather than 55deg will help alot when scanning for galaxies. sometimes they need to be on the edge of the eyepiece before they "pop" into view. dont get frustrated even the 127 will be able to pick out out galaxies, it takes a little while to develop the "technique" . 

Danski :)

    

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If the skies ever clear I will be out for another look at a dark sky location

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