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Last evening was unexpectedly clear and I had a nice session of low magnification views of the Moon and some double stars before 8pm.

Eventually I decided to go even wider as the transparency seemed good and so I grabbed my 20x80 for DSO observing.

I was lucky that the clouds held off and I spent a pleasant hour scanning the sky and looking at some old favourites: the double cluster, the three Auriga clusters, the Beehive. The Pleiades looked good very low in the west. M42 was showing quite a lot of nebulosity in the bins. I even spotted M72 as a faint smudge on the continuation of the line from Sigma Orionis to Alnitak. Then it was some galaxies in the east sky: M51 and M94 both easy to find. Finally I had my usual struggle trying to locate M81 and M82. They are easy to spot once you are in the right place but my trouble is actually getting in the right place. The usual method is to go from Phecda to Dubhe and continue one step but my problem with that is, it's a very long step and hard to keep going straight especially as I'm pointing the heavy bins near the zenith. Eventually after 10 mins of going in circles I did find them and in the process developed my own method which is using the 'bow and arrow' group of stars half way. Just follow the 'arrow' of the 'bow' :)

M81M82chart.thumb.jpg.176b7d10828158e4c211e09a931efb8f.jpg

 Clear skies!

Edited by Nik271
typo corrected
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Nice report Nik,  You managed some great targets with your bins in that couple of hours.

I have not managed to view these two galaxys yet. Every time I have tried to find them I have come up short. As you mentioned it doesnt help that they are now up at the Zenith! I am hoping to get a clear evening over the weekend to give them another shot. Your "map" is excellent and I will give the bow and arrow stratagy a try!

 

Cheers

Baz

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13 minutes ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

Nice report Nik,  You managed some great targets with your bins in that couple of hours.

I have not managed to view these two galaxys yet. Every time I have tried to find them I have come up short. As you mentioned it doesnt help that they are now up at the Zenith! I am hoping to get a clear evening over the weekend to give them another shot. Your "map" is excellent and I will give the bow and arrow stratagy a try!

 

Cheers

Baz

Thanks! One good thing about these two galaxies is that they are very bright so once you get in the right spot you will notice them. A 10x50 with a 6 degree field of view should make it easier (my 20x80 only has 3.8 degree FoV which is adding to the difficulty).

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4 hours ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

it doesnt help that they are now up at the Zenith!

Recliner! Then with hand-held or parallelogram-mounted binos, the zenith poses minimal problems,

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Yep - saw them in my 10x50s a few nights ago. The sky was very transparent (all 7 main stars of Ursa Minor were visible naked eye to me)

I follow a different hop to find them, this was from @John:

M82-SN-tight_edited-1.jpg.2801222027ef9a6eb815902731bcc932.jpg

 

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6 hours ago, Nik271 said:

The usual method is to go from Phecda to Dubhe and continue one step but my problem with that is, it's a very long step and hard to keep going straight especially as I'm pointing the heavy bins near the zenith.

Just noticed this bit. That's the method I use but, with binos, the trick is to look at the right place in the sky with your naked eye then, without moving your head, shove the binos in the way. Usually, if the object isn't in view, you're too low.

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7 hours ago, Pixies said:

Yep - saw them in my 10x50s a few nights ago. The sky was very transparent (all 7 main stars of Ursa Minor were visible naked eye to me)

I follow a different hop to find them, this was from @John:

M82-SN-tight_edited-1.jpg.2801222027ef9a6eb815902731bcc932.jpg

 

That’s basically the hop I use and it works very well. I actually follow a line from 29 to 23 Ursa Majoris and this takes you straight to the Triangle but otherwise I follow the same route. A good star hop should drop you right on the target without hunting around too much and this one works very well. I find the two galaxies in a couple of seconds in binos this way.

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

That’s basically the hop I use and it works very well. I actually follow a line from 29 to 23 Ursa Majoris and this takes you straight to the Triangle but otherwise I follow the same route. A good star hop should drop you right on the target without hunting around too much and this one works very well. I find the two galaxies in a couple of seconds in binos this way.

While I posted that one on that occasion, I did nick it from you Stu :icon_salut:

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Found them both for the 1st time this evening. Truth be told, more luck than judgement. I managed to get roughly in the right area then found M81 while scanning around with the 17.5 morph (in the 12" dob) while observing M81 I was expecting to see M82 aswell, however it was just outside the FOV with the 17.50 - I did manage to get them both in the same FOV when I realised that I had found them both.

M82 was fascinating, I can now see why it's called the cigar. It looked really impressive and a very unusual Shape. I will certainly be visiting again when there is no moon. I bet these galaxy's look amazing from a dark sky..

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1 hour ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

Found them both for the 1st time this evening. Truth be told, more luck than judgement. I managed to get roughly in the right area then found M81 while scanning around with the 17.5 morph (in the 12" dob) while observing M81 I was expecting to see M82 aswell, however it was just outside the FOV with the 17.50 - I did manage to get them both in the same FOV when I realised that I had found them both.

M82 was fascinating, I can now see why it's called the cigar. It looked really impressive and a very unusual Shape. I will certainly be visiting again when there is no moon. I bet these galaxy's look amazing from a dark sky..

Well done Baz !

It's worth using some higher magnification on M82 when you next get a chance. Something like 100x or so. The galaxy has some interesting dark lanes which run across it and some brighter knots as well and these start to show up quite nicely at higher magnifications :smiley:

One of the few galaxies where seeing some structure is quite possible with moderate aperture scopes under average skies.

Edited by John
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10 hours ago, John said:

Well done Baz !

It's worth using some higher magnification on M82 when you next get a chance. Something like 100x or so. The galaxy has some interesting dark lanes which run across it and some brighter knots as well and these start to show up quite nicely at higher magnifications :smiley:

One of the few galaxies where seeing some structure is quite possible with moderate aperture scopes under average skies.

Thank you John. I was really chuffed to find these two galaxys. It was certainly more luck than judgement.  I will look for them again using niks and your helpful guides above.

It was great to see an irregular shaped galaxy, I did have a look with my 14mm which gave x107 but couldn't see any detail. That's probably down to an untrained eye. I hope to see more on a moonless night now I know what to expect 👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great report again Nik.. and well done Barry!

Tonight the weather forecast was for clear skies. Unfortunately the forecast was spot on except the clouds cleared around two hours later than expected. Still up at 1am, the telescope stayed inside, however grabbing the 10x50s I gingerly crept into my dark corner...

The usual light pollution but otherwise very good seeing. A crack was made at M81/M82. When wielding a telescope they're my go to galaxies under the bortle 8 skies but with the binoculars I failed on this occasion. ☹️

Despite the failure, a rather enjoyable hour was spent hopping around the skies laid back on a garden chair. The highlight of the night, spotting m13. A first with binoculars. The surprise was how prominent the recognisable smudge looked against the sky in the 6.5° view. A just past the zenith m44 was framed really well too.

 

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On 02/04/2021 at 02:25, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

 

The usual light pollution but otherwise very good seeing. A crack was made at M81/M82. When wielding a telescope they're my go to galaxies under the bortle 8 skies but with the binoculars I failed on this occasion. ☹️

 

Not just me, then. I took my bins out to a new site, it turned out to be less dark than hoped for. Tried for M81/82, failed miserably. It didn't help that they were close to the zenith (pain in the neck!).

Did see a nice meteor though, and satellites. Lots of satellites.

Edited by Roy Challen
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