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Pluto the Snowman

Anyone actually seen Andromeda galaxy?

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Anyone here seen M31 without any optical aid whatsoever, including specs, contact lenses etc. Being the most distant object visible to the naked eye, I often wonder about this. It wasnt lookin too bad through my 20*60s but still dim. There is not a chance I would see it without binos from my sky. Sometimes I can make out the Milkyway, but tonight wasnt such a night, altho the Orion Nebula looks fantastic through my binos. As does M45.

Edited by Pluto the Snowman

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Only once when I was in snowdonia or more to the point on snowdonia,  miss those cold dark skies ... 

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All about having a dark enough sky matey.

If you've got that its easy to spot. I think its magnitude is + 3.4

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Oh yes. When I was on holiday in Dorset last August. Waited until it rose above the buildings of the farm where I was staying. Quite clearly visible even though quite low in the sky.

Oh for a dark site!

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Yep, it's easy naked eye from my back garden. M33 is a bit harder, need your eyes to open up first.

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I have seen it or should I say some of it I doubt it was six times the moons diameter though.

Alan

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Not sure why corrective glasses/contacts are excluded, but with good seeing conditions it is within my (corrected) visual range here - no streetlights in village

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I've detected it from my back garden - but I did have my contacts in, so maybe that doesn't count??! :icon_mrgreen:

This was before new lighting went up in the village and ruined the local sky for me :BangHead:

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As Alan says, M31 is an easy target from a dark sky, even with moderate dark adaptation.  I can also just see a dim patch for M33 after spending an hour or so in complete darkness. 

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i thought i saw M33 walking my dog one night but it might of been a case of knowing where it was and wishful thinking!...North American Nebula can be seen naked eye in good dark skies, i definitely saw that!

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23 minutes ago, Pluto the Snowman said:

Anyone here seen M31 without any optical aid whatsoever

from my sky.

Sometimes I can make out the Milkyway,

Yes, freqently from my garden in deepest darkest Somerset, even with my aged eyes ! (no streetlights or neighbours near me) It is one of the things I use to judge sky quality (transparency), the others are if I can see the split, dark rift, in the milky way and the stars in U.minor (easier).

Sorry, I dont want to make you unhappy ! but if you have the chance to get to somewhere really really dark you will be amazed, truely.

when you say "from my sky" - what kind of sky is that, how far to the nearest street lights / town / city ?

 

 

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Since I'm short sighted I can't enter this competition if glasses are not allowed!!!  I can't even see M42 without my glasses and that is seriously bright.

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9 minutes ago, estwing said:

i thought i saw M33 walking my dog one night but it might of been a case of knowing where it was and wishful thinking!...North American Nebula can be seen naked eye in good dark skies, i definitely saw that!

Geez, I find M33 tough even in my scope :D

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I think you should allow a pair of Vixen 2.1 x 42 then everyone from reasonable sky's could see lots of it.

Alan

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Like SilverAstro above, I judge the seeing by whether or not I can see Andromeda.  If there are no clouds, I would say that I can see it around 50% of the time.  Last night and tonight for example, the seeing is terrible and I can hardly see Mirach.  I should say that when it is super-clear then I can see the orientation of the Andromeda disc.

Chris

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19 minutes ago, niallk said:

Geez, I find M33 tough even in my scope :D

TBH mate as soon as I got home I got the bins out and bam there it was !

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M31 should be easily visible from any moderately dark site. M33 needs a much darker site, I have also seen M8, the Lagoon Nebula from Powys.

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30 minutes ago, SilverAstro said:

Yes, freqently from my garden in deepest darkest Somerset, even with my aged eyes ! (no streetlights or neighbours near me) It is one of the things I use to judge sky quality (transparency), the others are if I can see the split, dark rift, in the milky way and the stars in U.minor (easier).

Sorry, I dont want to make you unhappy ! but if you have the chance to get to somewhere really really dark you will be amazed, truely.

when you say "from my sky" - what kind of sky is that, how far to the nearest street lights / town / city ?

 

 

Nearest city is about 20 miles away. Just so happens the nearest national park is less than that. I do live in a village tho. Street lighting outside my house but not in my back garden. There are dark sky sites near me but I dont drive a car so cant get a telescope very far. Have been tempted to take my binos somewhere tho. One day I will ride my motorcycle somewhere in the middle of the night just to see.

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1 minute ago, Pluto the Snowman said:

Nearest city is about 20 miles away. Just so happens the nearest national park is less than that.

Oh ! Well, errr ummm, that is all a bit of a puzzle then,, sounds like you ought to be in with a chance.

 

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I used to consider it easy as a boy from my back yard in town. In a dark sky it was even easier. Not bright by any means but unmissable.

Now it's not so easy. A combination of ageing eyes and increasing light pollution.

Interestingly, I was at my dark sky getaway in rural Cumbria at the weekend and Friday night was as clear a night as I've enjoyed for a long time. So I took out the 10 x 50's for some stargazing :)

Lo and behold, I picked out M31 naked eye plus my specs. It's while since I did that so was quite pleased. I then picked out M33 with the bins very easily which is only the second time for me. I had a 10 year old girl helping me and I pointed out the Pleiades to her, trying to give little away. I asked her what she could see. She stopped counting stars at about 12! All I could see was a fuzz with the occasional prickle of starlight coming and going :( 

The thing with M31 is that it is so huge and diffuse that within reason, spectacles don't improve your chances as much as you might expect.

When I first started wearing specs for distance in my late teens it didn't matter if I wore them or not for M31. The stars would be hugely improved, M31 much less so.

As eyes age our fully open pupil size generally reduces, letting less light in. Light pollution is most certainly getting worse as we all age and those are the limiting factors in Spotting M31.

 

Edited by Paul M
usual typos
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Yep saw it easily in Spain when there at Christmas.  Was actually trying the new binoculars, but found it easily without, and of course with them it was stunning.  It was fuzzy, but very easily recognisable as Andromeda.  

As many have said, it's just about dark skies, well adapted eyes and good seeing and away you go (although it also helps if you also know where you're looking I guess).

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My long sight isn't great without my glasses, stars appear as blobs but for some reason that doesn't hinder me from seeing fuzzies.From my site M31 is always visible when the skies is transparent enough,I've even glimpsed the North America Nebula on occasion.Cant say I've managed M33 with or without glasses but even the smallest optical aid brings it out,such as a pair of 8X20,s I use for hillwalking.

Les.

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I've seen Andromeda named eyed thrice. But had to drive a long way from home :(

 

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From the responses, I'd say you'll need two things (aside from knowing where to look):

1. Dark skies.

2. Dark-adapted eyes.

For knowing where to look, I'd suggest seeing it first in a telescope. And learning where, exactly, you're looking with the scope.

That should increase the odds a bit. And below I've added a small guide to help.

Dave

 

Use Pegasus to Find Andromeda Galaxy.pdf

 

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