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Spent another 4-5 hours out last night trying to look for the pinwheel but again another disappointing night... Starting to wonder if im wasting my time..... Frustrating 

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Anthony, I believe that you have Bortle 8 skies. 

It may not be possible to see galaxies from your location with your kit. (Apart from part of the central core of M31)

There are many open clusters, globular clusters, hundreds of double & multiple stars, and some nebulae that you can observe.

For galaxies you may have to visit a darker site, once you have built some observing experience.

Don't give up!

 

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11 minutes ago, Anthony1979 said:

Spent another 4-5 hours out last night trying to look for the pinwheel but again another disappointing night... Starting to wonder if im wasting my time..... Frustrating 

Can't recall, what are your skies like? That's likely to be your problem. These objects end up being almost trivial when you get under a dark sky. I spent literally years looking for M1, then the first time I tried for it under good conditions I found it easily.

Can you get your scope somewhere darker?

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It should have been easy enough to find last night, I could see it with my 50mm camera lens on 30 secs.

I am assuming you are looking for M101 ?

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The pinwheel is really difficult the first time. It's quite large so the given magnitude is spread over the whole area. In my scope under good skies it looks like an area that's not quite as dark as the rest of the sky. As mentioned above, light pollution can render it invisible. Open clusters are a good place to start. Because of the clouds, I'm starting to forget what's around in the sky at the moment.

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With the moon up, the long twilight and if your general skies are somewhat light polluted galaxies are going to be tough to spot. The brightest such as M81 and M82 and M31 will be possible but face on spirals and the fainter stuff may well prove extremely challenging or simply invisible.

If it was M51 that you were searching for (which I think is know as the Whirlpool) that can be challenging. M101 is more challenging again - easy to overlook with my 12 inch scope. Don't be misled by the magnitude values quoted for these face on galaxies, which are integrated values - the actual surface magnitude is a lot fainter.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Kev M said:

It should have been easy enough to find last night, I could see it with my 50mm camera lens on 30 secs.

I am assuming you are looking for M101 ?

Sorry didn't notice you had Bortle 8 skies.

 

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7 hours ago, Kev M said:

It should have been easy enough to find last night, I could see it with my 50mm camera lens on 30 secs.

A 30 sec exposure with a camera  will reveal far more than naked eyeballs, you'll see far more stars and detail with a 30 sec exposure than you could possibly pic out naked eye. If a camera is picking it up it doesn't mean your eyes will.

Edited by Sunshine
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As a comment on the original post, any time looking at the sky is time well spent, not time wasted.

Now I have to say that I have B3 skies so don’t shout at me all at once, but I have only been doing astronomy for two years.

My first attempt at a galaxy was of course Andromeda, found the pinwheel instead. Took another month to find Andromeda and then couldn’t find the pinwheel again for a whole year.

This astronomy thing is difficult, if it was easy then I would get board real quick and give up. This ‘thing’ I have grown to love is a life’s labour and I hope it will be yours as well.

I am 46 and I hope at 86 I will be looking at the stars and still staying “that’s new” it might not be new to science but it is all our own personal discovery.

Marvin

 

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On a technical level Johns post is spot on. So many variables, moon, light levels, pollution, seeing. Please keep trying, your reward will be worth it.

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As others have implied, you are looking for the wrong deep sky objects, concerning your location and the current lunar phase. There is the moon of course and there is M13, M92, M3 and M5.

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2 hours ago, scarp15 said:

As others have implied, you are looking for the wrong deep sky objects, concerning your location and the current lunar phase. There is the moon of course and there is M13, M92, M3 and M5.

Spot on Iain, a worthwhile goal is trying to see the "propeller" in M13, a favorite.

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All i seem to see through the scope in just stars.... If you get what I mean nothing really to say ive seen that and then tick it off

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I think it's time to face the reality Anthony, that with Bortle 8 skies you are probably never going to be able to see galaxies, they are just too faint. Even with my Bortle 4/5 skies and my 12 inch Dobsonian most of them are still very faint.

As others have suggested there are plenty of other wonderful things to seek out, double stars, globular clusters, the moon and planets are all up there waiting for you to point your scope at! :)

 

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OK. Try some doubles. They stand up to light pollution and if the conditions are OK you'll know if you're pointing accurately. Polaris, Mizar, Izar, Algeiba and Porrima. All are bright, some are tight. Find them as a single star in your eyepiece with the biggest number, then increase the magnification until you manage to split them (let's hope the sky transparency plays ball)

Good luck and keep going. Imagine you are a night fisherman. You might only get an occasional bite but the peace you get from being outside at night can be a wonderful thing.

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I have never seen M101 or M51 from home even though according to S@N magazine it is a binocular object.  Go for clusters and doubles that`s what I do from home now leave galaxy hunting until go to really dark sky places. Go for M57 the ring nebula in Lyra that is very achievable I have seen it many times M13 and M92 both lovely clusters in Hercules.

Edited by wookie1965
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Good advice above. Practice on easy to see targets such as double stars, bright stars such as Vega, thye globular cluster Messier 13 etc, etc. That will develop your finding skills with a good chance of rewards once the object is found. As you get confident finding brighter targets, you can turn your attention to more challenging targets.

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Don't give up! As another newbie under Bortle 8 skies I feel your frustration. This weekend I've probably experienced the clearest summer skies I'll ever see from my backyard but as John said, moonlight, light pollution et al work against us.

I know I've pointed right at various DSO, some fuzz, the core maybe, even a wisp of spiral arm with careful and prolonged observation but it does soon become a futile experience. So, I decided to concentrate on what I can see and work with that.

Armed with a Startravel 120 on an AZ5, a selection of cheapo Plossls, a couple of mobile phone apps and a flask of tea I had a great time on Saturday starting with the moon and then choosing  to focus on Cassiopeia. Reading about every star I view, and splitting my first double stars was great. The night finished four hours after it started with a good look at Jupiter.

Sunday night was zenith night, same again, more doubles and sitting on my ground sheet did just about view the Pinwheel but it took some doing and was incredibly faint. Three hours learning and enjoying it...

If you can't see some of the fainter stuff but are confident you're right on it, despite the frustration it's still a triumph knowing you're navigating around the sky successfully.

Darker skies will be a doddle!

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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Thats the thing im not even getting a fuzzy or a cluster... And no my scope is collimated proper because i can split mizar easily.... Might go out again tonight while skys are clear

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I think Messier 13 in Hercules would be a good target. The constellation is well placed in the sky at a reasonable time and M13 (a globular cluster) can be seen in 50mm binoculars and 30mm and 50mm optical finders. The constellation is toward the East tonight at around 11:00 pm.

Here is a finder chart:

M13-wide-finder.jpg.5e8bc6132bc34a991f928a84e6b9ec47.jpg

 

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There is a whole load of us rooting for you. Other than my own observations I have never wanted someone else to succeed so much, good luck.

Please let us know if you succeed.

Marv

ps the moon is amazing tonight from where I stand, so perhaps a night off from dso  and look at that majestic wonder, so close and sometimes ignored.

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