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SiriusB

Hardest Messier object?

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Just wondering which Messier object was the hardest for you all to find or see?

I've still a few to go, mainly the horizon huggers.

Starting the ball rolling...

To date, M74 has proved the most elusive to actually see for me.

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I find the ones around Ursa Major impossible at home in my LP i.e. M101, M109, M108 and M97 - will be trying again this winter when the night's darker and maybe even from a darker site.

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I agree, M74 must one of the hardest Messiers to find - it took me ages to work out how to see it. Mr Messier must have had very good eyes (and probably very clear and clean skies!).:)

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I have found M108 and M101 particularly difficult to spot, I managed M108 a while back but it was nearly impossible from my site and averted vision only just made it visible. M101 has so far eluded me but I am determined to hunt down this one as soon as it starts rising higher above the horizon in the new year maybe.

I did manage to spot M74 the other day, the hardest part was the fact that it was quite faint and in a sparse area of sky. I kept having to ruin my night vision with the lappy running stellarium to pin down the area it was located, I got there in the end and was yet another to tick off the list.

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Anthying that's a nebula or galaxy and doesn't rise very high above the horizon. Light and general air pollution make it impossible.

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You really do just need a dark site. They are all there when you have one, bar the spurious duplicate of M101 of course!

Olly

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I made many attempts over the years to complete the Messier list. I am fortunate that my east/west horizon looks towards Wales and I have little light pollution. However, the low globulars in Sagittarius M69 and M70 made life very difficult.

Success this year viewing M70 was a highlight with very clear skies right to the horizon enabled me to complete the list.

I suppose living in the UK these Messier objects at around -30 Dec are the most difficult. Also as already stated M74 in Pisces is not easy.

Mark

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M74 is generally considered the hardest and was for me.

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I haven't seen all that many yet. I forget how many are in my signature at the moment, 35 ish? Of those, M101 was the most difficult. Have looked in the same spot most nights and only ever seen it once. Though hopefully more aperture will help me a bit now.

I agree, the hardest ones for me at the moment at the lowest in the sky, not least because the southern sky is behind the house. A trip to a dark site will be needed to tick those off. I plan to complete the list before Summer.

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Totally agree M74 and can only see it from a dark site.

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M101 is actually very easy from a dark site. I went straight to it at Kelling with my mates 12" dob....i`ve never seen it from my garden, no surprise really....

Alan:D

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I am so annoyed that when at my first dark site visit a little while back I didn't think to check for M74! Never mind - still plenty to go at.

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Strange that M74 seems to be considered the hardest of the Messiers to bag, I have found that M108 is much quite inconspicuous and harder to see through my 8" even when compared to M74 which stood out quite easily with averted vision. I might be right in thinking that M108 has a lower overall surface brightness than M74 and that makes it harder to see from a relatively light polluted observing site like my back garden.

Edited by Hypernova
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Thankfully my sky is pretty dark, so seeing the Messiers has never been a problem. But i did have quite a difficult time finding M76 a number of years ago during my one and only Messier Marathon. An extraordinarily warm February had melted the snowpack, and by early March the 6' deep groundfrost was completely gone. The ground was good to drive on, which meant i could get out to my Starpad's clean horizon and set up the Celestron Ultima 2000. The scope had goto but i wanted to starhop with the RDF, S&T's laminated Messier Card, and the Sky Atlas 2000 charts.. what a blast! :D

I'm pretty good at using the RDF, so there really wasn't too much starhopping to do. Things went surprisingly well until i checked my carefully choreographed list and realized i'd somehow forgotten about M76. :)

After an hour:), i finally spotted it and whooped so loud that every farm dog within 3 miles started howling. ;) To this day i still have absolutely no idea why it took so long.

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Talitha, I hear you. M79 was my nemesis for years and I don`t really know why. Of course, I didn`t actually put much effort into it; it was usually an after-thought and too low on the horizon when I thought to look for it. But it still makes me laugh because on a sky chart it looks like it should be an easy find.

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They all seem like an easy find on a star chart.

Heck, i never had a problem finding M76 on the chart.

My problem was finding it in the sky. :)

Just to make us feel better, here's a true story.

I know someone who couldn't find M13 to save his soul...

turns out he was looking in Draco's head instead of the Keystone. :D

Amateur astronomy.. what a grand adventure! :)

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I agree with hypernova. From my darker site (mag 5.75 skies) with a 12" M74 is actually very easy. I too have tried and failed to see M108: to date I've only looked from a brighter site with a light dome to the North. Am hoping to bag it this January when it will be higher in the sky. It's all down to the skies...

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They all seem like an easy find on a star chart.

Heck, i never had a problem finding M76 on the chart.

My problem was finding it in the sky. :(

Just to make us feel better, here's a true story.

I know someone who couldn't find M13 to save his soul...

turns out he was looking in Draco's head instead of the Keystone. :p

Amateur astronomy.. what a grand adventure! :)

Interesting, that, because I'm sure your friend won't be the first or last to do that. Hercules is weird for me because I know perfectly well where it is. it's just that sometimes the keystone asterism just refuses to register in my brain even when I'm looking straight at it. I have to look away, move my feet, turn a bit... and it usually pops out at me. Quite embarrassing really!

Olly

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I've never found M1 but there are quite a few I've not seen but I'm a newbie so there.... :(

T x

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Yeah, M1 gave me grief for years. I think it's because whenever I searched for it, it was from light polluted skies in late summer or autumn when Taurus was fairly low down. M1 isn't very bright. Also, and this quite silly, I think I have a tendency to look in the wrong place. Since it's easy to find I usually do not look at the chart. Problem is that I forget it's next to zeta Tauri and look around Alnath instead. I have a suspicion I've been doing that for a while.

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M7 proved a tricky little blighter. Not impossibly faint or anything but the most southerly messier from the UK i think. June was best time to see it but despite our best efforts still not sure we actually saw it. On the upside, in our search, we ticked off a lot of other rarely seen objects. And it was great to explore the more southerly part of the Milkyway.

From the garden M51 and M101 are very hard to nail. But surprisingly M1 is quite easy. M97 is also not too bad but nearby M108 is a nightmare to see.

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I just bagged M74 yesterday, and it was very difficult in my C8, from a moderately light-polluted site (my garden), and impossible with my 15x70 even from a dark site in South Africa. I spotted M101 with 15x70s once from my garden, but it was in a more favourable position. Have not got M108 yet.

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M108 is a lovely object from a dark site, nice edge on galaxy and can be nicely framed with M97. But like most galalxies, becomes a complete nightmare from an light polluted garden.

M101 from the garden with 15x70's......wish i could do that! :eek:

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