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Littleguy80

M101 - It's there but I can't see it!

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7 minutes ago, Helix said:

One of the best nights for me was in Beddgelert, Wales. M101 was so prominent in a TeleVue 4"  refractor. I think Wales is getting my favorite place for observing. Climbing during the day and observing at night. What else could I wish in my life when it is not raining? :) 

We nearly packed up at 3am due to the wind getting up. Half an hour later both Faulksy's 20" and the 22" were taking in the huge spiral arms and knots of M101. Detail was just gob smacking! 

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Best I've seen it was with my 16" Sumerian at SGL10. Skies were around Mag 21, as I recall, the transparency was reasonable on one night and M101 looked pretty impressive to me!

Smallest thing I've seen it in was a pair of Canon 15x50IS binos down in Dorset. Quite clear as an oval glow proving that dark skies are what makes the difference.

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50 minutes ago, estwing said:

It will loosen that jaw under proper dark skies mate

People thought Lord Rosse was making it up when he issued drawings of it with a spiral form!

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.....and with 24" dob you are not observing the galaxy anymore. You are observing HII regions.........

 

 

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1 hour ago, Helix said:

.....and with 24" dob you are not observing the galaxy anymore. You are observing HII regions.........

 

 

From Bala that night you could see quite a few of them in both scopes. Fingers crossed this winter we'll get to see them again this time with a chart detailing them :headbang:

Edited by mapstar
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M101 is certainly one of the more challenging Messier galaxies.  One night in March this year at my “local” dark site on the Cheshire plain I could only just discern the galaxy with my 10” Dob, though nearby M51 wasn’t particularly impressive indicating below par conditions.

I’ve been treating myself to more sessions at more remote dark sites of late and as a result have seen M101 three times subsequently as a “large warm glow”, to quote my notes.  I found a distinct similarity with a good view of M33. On a couple of those occasions I also saw close-by NGC galaxies 5473 and 5474 as small, faint fuzzies, much to my satisfaction. These were a little outside the field of view of 57' with M101 centred. I used the same equipment throughout.

It sounds like a truism that faint objects will stand out more against a darker background.  That fact certainly gets driven home, and very satisfyingly too, when put to the test!

Edited by DavidR100
Correct strangely varying font size.
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One night at Lucksall Park (SGL star party location) M101 was clear as anything even in my 50mm finder and M33 even more so.

From home I can see M101 on a good night, although it's not at all distinct and I definitely need a scope.

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Thank you for the responses :) I've seen M33 in the last few weeks so hopefully that's a good indication that M101 should be possible from home. If not, it'll be high up the list of targets when I make it out to a dark site! Galaxies seem to be the most challenging targets for me. Possibly down to surface brightness being low as they're such large objects?

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8 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

.. Galaxies seem to be the most challenging targets for me. Possibly down to surface brightness being low as they're such large objects?

Apart from the brighter ones, they are challenging with smaller apertures and under less than dark skies. The face on ones are especially difficult because of the low surface brightness that you mention.

If you can see M33 you may well also be able to see a small blob of light very close by, near to a star, and called NGC 604. It's actually a nebulae within the M33 galaxy itself - very cool ! :cool2:

I've seen it with a 4" aperture scope on a decently dark night :icon_biggrin:

Edited by John
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36 minutes ago, John said:

 

If you can see M33 you may well also be able to see a small blob of light very close by, near to a star, and called NGC 604. It's actually a nebulae within the M33 galaxy itself - very cool ! :cool2:

 

Wow! That's awesome! Certainly going to have a look for that!

With the darker months ahead, I'll have a chance to build up my galaxy hunting skills! 

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1 hour ago, John said:

Apart from the brighter ones, they are challenging with smaller apertures and under less than dark skies. The face on ones are especially difficult because of the low surface brightness that you mention.

If you can see M33 you may well also be able to see a small blob of light very close by, near to a star, and called NGC 604. It's actually a nebulae within the M33 galaxy itself - very cool ! :cool2:

I've seen it with a 4" aperture scope on a decently dark night :icon_biggrin:

Just looked up NGC 604 and Wikipedia says it’s the largest HII region in the Local Group of galaxies. Being able to see an HII in a different galaxy sounds amazing!  I’ll certainly look out for it next time out.  Uranometria shows NGC 604 has a couple of fellows: NGC 595 and NGC 588 which are smaller and fainter.  Back to Wikipedia, these were only observed 80 years after William Herschel saw 604 so I guess we’ve got no chance without a really big ‘scope.

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I had great view of 604 in a 16" dob at the SGL star party, really good to see. Quite clear in an 8" SCT too as I recall from a dark site.

M33 is not than big compared with say M31 but can be a tricky blighter ;). Red circle is 0.5 degrees.

IMG_3430.PNG

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1 hour ago, DavidR100 said:

Just looked up NGC 604 and Wikipedia says it’s the largest HII region in the Local Group of galaxies. Being able to see an HII in a different galaxy sounds amazing!  I’ll certainly look out for it next time out.  Uranometria shows NGC 604 has a couple of fellows: NGC 595 and NGC 588 which are smaller and fainter.  Back to Wikipedia, these were only observed 80 years after William Herschel saw 604 so I guess we’ve got no chance without a really big ‘scope.

Well I've seen NGC604 with a 4" refractor. Once you know where it is, it's not too difficult to spot. 595 and 588 are harder to spot though.

Edited by John
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47 minutes ago, John said:

Well I've seen NGC604 with a 4" refractor. Once you know where it is, it's not too difficult to spot. 595 and 588 are harder to spot though.

I can't tell from that if you've seen 595 and 588 - if so, did you see them with your 12"? I've seen M33 and NGC 604 with the 12", but that was on a society observing night so I couldn't spend long at the eyepiece and I didn't think to look for the fainter NGCs.

 

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1 hour ago, John said:

Well I've seen NGC604 with a 4" refractor. Once you know where it is, it's not too difficult to spot. 595 and 588 are harder to spot though.

OK John, you've given me the confidence.  595 and 588 look like a different kettle of fish though. Have you seen them?

Ah - I see Harry beat me to it!

Edited by DavidR100
Harry

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M101 isn't the only that "isn't there", of course.

Last night I tried for the Deer Lick Group and Stephan's Quintet in Pegasus.  GoTo was found to be spot on, so I was in the right place.  I experimented with mag/exit pupil, but of the 10 galaxies only saw one - NGC 7331 (C30), the brightest in the DLG.  A small, faint bit of fuzz, taking my galaxy count to 20.

Can't do much about the local light pollution, so I'm hoping for slightly better results when I finally get a Dob!

Doug.

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I had to go back and look at my notes on M101 to check if I've ever picked this up!   Indeed last year, I had got it at home in the 6" refractor.  At the time I was experimenting with using a gentle O-III filter on galaxies in the hopes of picking out nebulous regions.  It was still luminous with the O-III and my logbook entry is "Huge!   Suggests structure and core area has some points of light."    Like you, @Littleguy80, I had tried for this several times in the past and been turned away empty handed with a 130P.  Keep at it, you'll bag it in time.

I can't believe I haven't tried for NGC604 mentioned.......I need to carry on with that O-III experiment!  

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11 hours ago, harrym said:

I can't tell from that if you've seen 595 and 588 - if so, did you see them with your 12"? I've seen M33 and NGC 604 with the 12", but that was on a society observing night so I couldn't spend long at the eyepiece and I didn't think to look for the fainter NGCs.

 

Sorry - I should have been clearer in my post. NGC's 595 and 588 take a really dark, transparent night and some study with my 12" dob to and even then they are "suggestions" rather than anything else. I think their position further into M33's galactic disk adds to the challenge of discerning them I think. From my skies here it's rare to have enough transparancy and darkness to get really good "extension" on M33 or M101 for that matter. From darker sites, the views of these can be spectacular even with a 6" aperture. Dark skies are "king" when it comes to galaxies :icon_biggrin: 

Interesting Sky & Telescope piece on M33 and it's treasures here:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/triple-treasure-in-triangulums-pinwheel110320150311/

NGC 604 is well worth trying for because it's by far the easiest extra-galactic nebulae to see visually in the northern hemisphere as far as I know.

Edited by John
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Thanks for that article John! I had no idea there was a 15th magnitude star in M33 - will have to give that a go with the 12" when I get back in October. The magnitude 15.9 globular is probably too faint even on the best nights.

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That's a good article @John thanks. The 'Trapezoid' asterism should be helpful in making a starhop.  Look forward to having a shot!

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1 hour ago, John said:

 Dark skies are "king" when it comes to galaxies :icon_biggrin: 

 

Totally agree, the size and extent of galaxies when under dark transparent skies is amazing.

The best view I've had of M33 was at Galloway star party. The outer ngcs stood out like galaxies in their own right. Both myself and Demon barber (Mike) were comparing his 31nag to my 21E with the former just having the edge when getting it all in. 

The detail was stunning with the huge spirals filling both the eyepieces.

What John has said above is the best advice on here. Get out to the darkest skies you can.

 

Edited by mapstar
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