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M31 My second attempt.


andy jack
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I tried to view M31three nights ago and had quite a frustrating experience. I really struggled to find it and when I did it was more fluke than good judgment. (See my previous post “Novices first observation”) It appeared as a very small unimpressive cigar shaped faint smudge. To make matters worse after taking so long to find it a vapour trail obliterated it within minutes.

Armed with a new 25mm Super Plossl, a light pollution filter and most importantly a clear sky it would have been rude not to try again.

First of all it has to be said, cheap or not, the Plossl is a vast improvement on the EP’s shipped with my Skywatcher 150. If that’s the sort of improvement gained from a cheap EP I can’t wait to see how a really good quality EP performs.

Tonight I had no repeat of my poor navigation and found M31 fairly easy. I was using my Skywatcher 150P with the 25mm Plossl mentioned above. The sky was very clear but the moon is still very large and bright. M31 appeared as an oval shape which was cloudy grey, with a small round centre that was a much lighter and brighter. Once my eyes became adjusted I could make out its shape quite well with the very slightest hint of dust lanes. I could add the missing detail in my minds eye and clearly visualise in my head what I was looking at. Hope that makes sense? :)

It only begs the question, what did I see on Monday night? It was not M31! Looking at stellarium and allowing for the fairly random way in which I stumbled upon what I saw, I can’t help wondering if it was M33? It’s in the general area and a similar distance from my starting point of Mirach? Whatever it was it was fainter than M31 and other than a cloudy appearance it was uniform in colour and light with no visual detail. Just a smudge!

Just as an interesting foot note, tonight at least, viewing M31 my light pollution filter was a hindrance rather than a help. The image was much sharper and clearer with the unfiltered Plossl. :D

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hmmm - I wuould be surprised if you could see M33 on a moonlit night. There are a few reasons why M31 could look much fainter including poor transparency or a little dew on the e/p or mirror. When I hve seen M33 (through a 6" skywatcher) although it is quite faint, it is very big and uniformly bright.

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I use the same scope as you and I agree, unlikely you were looking at M33. M31, and any faint smudge for that matter, can look quite different on different nights, don't expect them to look exactly the same every time you look at them. Last night the moon was pretty bright and bleaching out much of the part of the sky that contains M31, so you did well to see it - especially dust lanes! I haven't seen those even on dark nights. Nice one.

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M31 was quite clear despite the bright moon. Can't claim to have seen dust lanes as such, it was just a hint of symetry in the murk. Knowing what we know, I just sort of knew thats what it was. If I had never seen a picture of M31 I doubt I would have been able to come to the same conclusion. :D

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M31 was quite clear despite the bright moon. Can't claim to have seen dust lanes as such, it was just a hint of symetry in the murk. Knowing what we know, I just sort of knew thats what it was. If I had never seen a picture of M31 I doubt I would have been able to come to the same conclusion. :)

there is a fine line between what I see, what I thought I saw, what I wanted to see, what I might have seen and what I remembered seeing....:D

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Yes quite!

Life is full of fine lines. For example the line between genuinley questioning something and calling somebody a liar, thats a fine one. :D

I may be a novice but my eyesight is perfect and I am far too long in the tooth to be imagining/inventing things.

In short I know what I saw.

I am not going to waste my time debating what I did or did not see. Life is too short!

It was nieve of me to think that I could post reports of observations on a forum without this sort of thing happening.

Won't be happening again. :)

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Yes quite!

Life is full of fine lines. For example the line between genuinley questioning something and calling somebody a liar, thats a fine one. :)

I may be a novice but my eyesight is perfect and I am far too long in the tooth to be imagining/inventing things.

In short I know what I saw.

I am not going to waste my time debating what I did or did not see. Life is too short!

It was nieve of me to think that I could post reports of observations on a forum without this sort of thing happening.

Won't be happening again. :)

wow, I wasn't expecting that. didn't mean to offend but did I really say anything that offensive?:D

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