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dark star

Finally saw M51

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I went out in my car to a fairly dark site last night, Margaret Roding in Essex. It has been mentioned a few times on here as a good location. The last time I went it was in winter and everything dewed/ frosted up. I now have I dew heater and a hair dryer. I just needed the hair dryer a little bit on my Telrad, but otherwise it was fine.

I got there when it was still light and got in a good couple of hours before the moon came up.

After many years of trying I finally saw M51 the spiral galaxy. Using my 14 inch dobsonian which I made myself. So I am very happy. I could see maybe a hint of the spiral arms. i found it using a Telrad, I looked up where is should be in relation to Alkaid in Ursa Major, using a telrad chart from the internet-also in Stellarium, before I set off.

I tried to find the Leo triplet but didn't succeed, but I didn't prepare how to find them as well, so probably just missed them. Hopefully next time. Still, I am very happy to have seen M51, it is totally invisible from my garden on the outskirts of London.

It has taken me so long because it is rarely clear skies when I have a day off work the next day and can go somewhere dark, it seems to be cloudy for months at a time at the weekends!

 

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Very nice, dark star. I myself have been trying with no  luck, to observe m51 with my 8” dob.Hopefully  i will too , fnally mange to observe it too. 

Clear skies

kronos

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Congrats on grabbing m51.  That's one I've never seen myself - I have tried a few times but it seems to have a way of avoiding me...

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Have tried numerous times from my fairly light polluted back garden - no luck so far ?

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Nice report, getting away from home and going for tougher targets is really rewarding, congrats on bagging M51.

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M51 is very distinctive when you find it with its two fuzzy patches..

The best nights in the UK are when we get clear air from the north or northwest which improves transparency. Over recent days the air is coming in from Europe and it's less clear.

Mark

 

Edited by mdstuart
Remove political reference
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No political discussion Mark...?...

You won't see any structure in LP with M51...dark skies rule.

Took me ages to get the Leo triplet!...clear skies everyone 

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If you think M51 is tough to see, wait till you try M33!

Even though you'd think it'll be easy, it's brighter on paper, it's a real toughie. Almost impossible in urban and suburban areas.

Managed it once with 11x80 binoculars.

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Well done Dark Star. It can be a tricky one. Smaller than you might expect and really only the cores that you see unless under very dark skies. A 14" should show you plenty though, so I'm sure you will get the Leo Triplet next time out.

I surprised myself last night, observing from home with my 8" on a goto mount, I dont usually bother with galaxies because I think my skies are too bright to get them. At best they are about mag 5 NELM, but to be fair they have improved from about 4.5 due to the new LED lighting. Anyway, the goto plonked M51 slap bang in the centre and the view was surprisingly good, hints of the haloes around two quite bright cores. Using higher power also helps to darken the sky background and help perceived contrast.

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Congratulations Dark Star.

When I first started viewing, several times I would fail to find M51. One would thinks its easy, just the other side of the Plough from M101...Yeah ...its there...somewhere :bino2:

 

 

2 hours ago, reezeh said:

If you think M51 is tough to see, wait till you try M33!

Even though you'd think it'll be easy, it's brighter on paper, it's a real toughie. Almost impossible in urban and suburban areas.

Managed it once with 11x80 binoculars.

When I first got into AP I found M33 so faint, it took plenty more time on target to get a decent image. Its not bright by any standard.

Edited by Star101

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On 22/04/2019 at 17:22, dark star said:

After many years of trying I finally saw M51 the spiral galaxy. Using my 14 inch dobsonian which I made myself. So I am very happy. I could see maybe a hint of the spiral arms. i found it using a Telrad, I looked up where is should be in relation to Alkaid in Ursa Major, using a telrad chart from the internet-also in Stellarium, before I set off.

Congrats!  I did Telrad my way to M51 too only a few of weeks ago.  Way more fun and rewarding than using a goto.

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congrats! have tried M51 every single session for the last two years but no joy yet!

Leo triplet is easy - only problem is it is also invisible from my back garden with everything up to 130mm!

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For anyone struggling to find m51 there's a super easy 2 star hop, if you have cross hairs in your finder, that gets you there every time and saves you from 'mowing the lawn'. 

1) Put Alkaid (the star at the handle end of the plough) in the middle of your field of view and then adjust your finder scope to make sure it's perfectly aligned.

2) Now, looking through your finder, move to 24CVn, which is the next brightest star in your finder- see screenshots below. 

3) You should now be able to see a three star asterism that looks like a right angled triangle either to the left (straight through finder) or the right (RACI) of the fov. 

4) Put the centre of your cross hairs just outside the hypotenuse three quarters of the way towards the shortest side of the triangle.

Bingo!

I live under Bortle 5 skies and on all but the poorest nights the two cores are visible with direct vision in an 8 inch dob.

Shots from Sky Safari below for RACI and Straight Through funders 

 

Screenshot_20190426-234216.png

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Screenshot_20190426-234458.png

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