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M81 / M82 - March 2006


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Had a good luck at M82 tonight but it started to snow as I started on M81 so I had to go in :shock:

Scope Nexstar 8" Observing conditions horrid!! Windy cold and patchy cloud with occn snow flurries but threatening a full on blizzard. Had abortive attempt at imaging M82 but images badly affected by wind.

It's clearly an end on galazy and needs little imagination to see why it is called the cigar galaxy - it looks like a cigar :insects1:. the best view is with M81 in the same view. this shows the contrasting appearance of the 2. I can just manage this on the F10 ns8 but it is an easy job with an ED80.

At lower mags I couldn't observe any real detail or get an impression of a galary core. However there was a suggestion of a core at x80 with a 25mm EP. Moving up to a 15mm EP the cigar was starting to get pretty dim. It nearly crossed the full FOV and it was possible to make out a couple of bright patches within the core. Definitely worth struggling with the higher power. The detail is there and I'm sure more could be discerned by sitting drawing it for a couple of hours, but not tonight i don't think!

I have imaged M81 and I think it's delicate spiral arms are very beautiful but I think it would take a big light bucket and a dark sky to make out any real detail. I will return to it asap.

I've included a single 40 second exposure of M82 which shows how the core is split. I could just make this out at about x130. The wind messed up too many of the subs to thing about doing any more work with them.



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Hi Martin,

Good report. And very much as I saw it in the C8. M81 doesn't really give much away but it's more the contrast in shapes between M81 and M82 at low power that makes them my fav eyepiece view.

I briefly checked out 81/82 on Saturday night using the ED100. Transparency was pretty good, perhaps 7/10. Never really used the ED for deepsky as I used to have the C8 for that purpose. But it was interesting to see what it could do.

Using an Antares 2" 40mm Erfle, Skyscan had no trouble putting the galaxies near the centre of the field. Instantly impressed how well they stood out. The FOV was large but the galaxies were bright and easily seen. Switching to the Meade 26mm, improved the view. Now nicely framed and their distinctive shapes easy to see. It's just so amazing to see two different galaxies in the eyepiece.....especially when you start to think about what you are looking at. Awesome!

Couldn't get the detail in M82 that you managed Martin, just too aperture limited. But still a nice view.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Spotted these through the cloud at long last. LP meant that I couldn't see them visually but I managed to snap them.


Or at least I think its them?

As the high cloud was coming and going I had very little time to do the image, this along with fighting the kit, so this is a single frame messed with in Photoshop.

I did take more pictures, but this is the best I think.

Using Skywatcher 200 f/5 Newt on HEQ5 goto, nikon D50 49 seconds at 1600iso, wobble down to mirror slap of the camera and I couldn't be bothered covering the end of the scope for five seconds until the wobble had gone.

location was Huddersfield, (just in front of our lass's car if you must know).

Seeing was fairly good, no rippling as I've seen before, though I only notice this at high Mags.

LP was horrible, ligt enough to walk around without a torch.

Captain Chaos

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