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Jove

Looking for M65 and M66

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I spent a little while over the weekend trying to hunt down M65 and M66 in Leo, to no avail, alas. Are any more experiecned DSO hunters able to suggest what might be going wrong?

Possibilities I can think of - in order of likeliness - are:

- I'm looking in the wrong place. Although I am fairly new to star hopping and so on I have checked what I am seeing against some maps, and am relatively confident I am looking in the right place. The only thing that makes me doubt my location is that the star field looked right, but there was absolutely nothing there, no trace of brightness where I was expecting to find it.

- Wrong magnification. I've been using the widest field eyepiece I have (40mm, giving a mag. of 37.5x). I've had a look around with a 20mm too (75x) - I understand that galaxies need a

- They're too faint for my scope. I'm using the Skywatcher 5" Maksutov - not particularly cut out for deep sky work, I know. I can see stars beyond Mag. 10, but with extended DSOs I suppose the surface brightness may be too low even if the listed magnitude looks as though I should be able to pick it up.

- Too much LP. I'm in London, so LP is a big problem. With a dark adapted eye I can see down to Mag. 4 at zenith, but this falls rapidly with decreaing altitude. Below about 20 degrees only stars up to about Mag 2 are visible. Leo was farily high (I should have noted it down!), with Theta Leonis visible to the dark adapted naked eye.

- I'm looking for the wrong thing. I'm looking for a bit of a smudge in the sky, a bit like how M31 looks through binoculars. Might it be that I'm seeing the bright nuclei of the galaxies and mistaking them for stars? There are two HIP-something stars in the same neck of the woods that I wondered if they might be the galaxies, before realising they were to the east of my 'landmark' line of three stars where as I should be looking to the west.

Thanks for any help, I'd really like to try and track down some galaxies!

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These are quite small and feint - so with LP you would find them a difficult target to spot. They are also fairly low down until quite late on in the night so don't clear the smog till perhaps 11/12ish

Why not go for some brighter ones that should be high enough and far easier to spot such as M51, M81, M82 and M101 all located in and arround the plough, which is riding quite high in the sky at present.

Chris

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You have no chance seeing these in London I'm afraid, just way to much LP. Is there any chance you could escape London and head for the countryside as I'm sure even though your scope is a Mak under dark skies I'm sure you will pick out a few dim smudges.

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Thanks for the responses - its great to hear from some people who know what they're doing :p

I'll try both your suggestions - looking for some of the Ursa Major galaxies instead, though I still find it harder to point my scope at the right thing at very high objects, and I will have to hope the south end of the garden has dried out a bit after all last month's rain - my usual viewing site has an obstructed northern view (by the house!). Also, it's my dad's birthday in a few weeks so I will likely be visiting rural Kent, I'll take my scope along for the ride ;)

Thanks again! :headbang:

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The ones I mentioned should be easy to locate as they are close to the plough and easy to hop to, if you haven't got a LP filter of some kind I strongly recommend one, as they give you a much reduced background reducing skyglow, making fuzzies easier to locate.

Chris

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I agree with Chris here get yourself a Neodymium filter, I have seen galaxies which have been invisible without one. It really does enhance contrast, whether it will work in the LP london offers I cannot really comment.

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I agree with Chris here get yourself a Neodymium filter, I have seen galaxies which have been invisible without one. It really does enhance contrast, whether it will work in the LP london offers I cannot really comment.

Something like those discussed in this thread? They certainly seem to produce good results on photos!

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Yes,

There of course lots of different makes and types of Light pollution filters - do some searches and look at the results and reports and make a decision on what you feel does a good job for the price you can afford.

Chris

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The Neodymium does a great job in darkening the background sky to boost contrast. It does help with galaxy hunting depending on the type of LP you have.

Worth noting that i have the Neodymium and Rob has the Skywatcher LPR. We compared them and pretty sure the Skywatcher is the same type filter for a lot less money (£25 for the 2" version).

Russ

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Hi Jove

I observe from London and have been back into astronomy for 5 years.

I have seen these galaxies twice in the 5 years. Only on nights where the air has come straight down fro the artic and is so dry the LP is heavily suppressed.

Cheers

Ian

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Hi Jove

I observe from London and have been back into astronomy for 5 years.

I have seen these galaxies twice in the 5 years. Only on nights where the air has come straight down fro the artic and is so dry the LP is heavily suppressed.

Cheers

Ian

Hi Ian, I'd be interested to hear what kind of kit you use in London - are there any particular tips you have for dealing with the LP? Are many DSOs off limits no matter how much aperture you have? Someone suggested to me that I should try and observe in the hours before dawn as particulates have had more time to settle and there is less haze from contrials - have you tried this?

Thanks for any tips!

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Im pretty new to this but I have recently seen m65 and m66 with my 4.5" Skywatcher. They were really difficult to spot - at first I thought it was just my eyes, but I checked on Stellarium and it was them. Seeing them from London though... try looking halfway between Chertan (in Leo) and the mag 3.5 star directly below it. You will know when you see them, as there is a wiggly line of six or so bright stars down one side.

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