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M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy


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I think I might have pushed the pixel 4a about as far as it'll go! 

This counts as the very first galaxy I've spotted, so I'm unreasonably chuffed. Also what with the light pollution here and the bright shiny moon last night I realise I didn't make life easy - but I've found picking one target and sticking with it definitely helps me. 

This was too faint to see much of anything through the eyepiece (celestron ultima duo 13mm on my skywatcher 130pds), so I used the phone with astrometry.net (such an amazing resource) to work out what I was looking at and hone in - turning myself into an iterated plate-solving, push-to system. 

Once I was on target - and had the reassurance that I actually was where I thought/hoped I was - I could make out more detail by eye (though not as much as the phone could show). I spent a good while peering at (down?) the whirlpool before the bottom of the scope contacted the tripod - another rookie mistake! - and, not having the confidence to try and reset/refind it swapped to splitting the double double (just because I'd read about t earlier in the week) before heading to bed far later than planned. What a fabulous night. 



Edited by MartinT
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I tried this last year with a Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145p and iPhone 12 from my back garden in Southampton - Bortle 7. In the eyepiece I could see absolutely nothing and I tried and tried over several moonless nights, even with averted imagination. But given the equipment plus light pollution it didn’t surprise me.

But taking a snap with my phone and there it was! At least I knew that I was in the right place and my star hoping had been a success.

I’ve cropped the image (it was small on the original) but you can just make out some structure to the galaxy. Sure, it’s a grainy old picture but I was chuffed just to capture something… anything!

@MartinT Have you tried M81 & M82? I had far more success on those two. 


Edited by PeterStudz
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