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Andromeda Galaxy ?


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Giving the new SW150p a bit of a work out tonight. I have been trying to locate M31 once the cloud had cleared. Got in the right area and found a faint fuzzy patch in the finder. Looking through 25mm EP or 10mm EP only showed a small grey smudge with a marginally brighter centre. Checking Stellarium and http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm it was more like M110. Any suggestions ?

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Use the Great Square of Pegasus to locate M31. From the top left corner hop two stars left in a shallow upward arc, then turn sharp 90 upwards and hop two more. It's right there just on the right of the second star.

Double check with Cassiapoia, the sharp arrow shaped part of the "W" should point right at where you are :)

Edited by brantuk
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I believe you need around 14" and a dark sky to be able to consistently spot a single dust lane on M31. I been able to see it on my 8" with averted vision under great seeing conditions and very dark skies.

Unfortunately galaxies tend to disappoint if you're expecting anything like the images. They are the hardest type of object for details.

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That's fair enough, the difficulty with being a beginner is all the images of these objects you see online or in books are filtered, enhanced and generally taken with larger scopes. I'm not expecting to see what's in those images but it's difficult to know what to look for in real life.

The 12dstring site had been pretty accurate with the planetary images.

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That's fair enough, the difficulty with being a beginner is all the images of these objects you see online or in books are filtered, enhanced and generally taken with larger scopes. I'm not expecting to see what's in those images but it's difficult to know what to look for in real life.

Indeed it is. Kris is right too. It's been so cloudy here I forgot the moon was out. Moonlight affects all deep sky observing and galaxies more then everything else.

Take a look at this sketches from Talitha: Stargazers Lounge - Talitha's Album: Deep Sky Sketches

They are very realistic and will let you know what to expect in real life. On the side of each you can see the telescope and mag used for the sketch. This will help you learn what EPs to use on each object and what level of detail to expect with different apertures.

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I can see dust lanes in my 12" under mag ~6 skies. Knowing what to look for under darker skies has allowed me to spot them in slightly worse conditions (perhaps 5.5). I'm sure dust lanes would also be visible in a 10" under similar conditions.

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Thank's for the replies, the link to Talitha's album was very good.

I'll go back to M31 when there's no moon and see how I get on, at least I know where to look.

Sounds like a great plan. When observing M31 I have found that peripheral vision is your absolute best friend.

Perhaps try the crab nebula afterwards? Taurus is a nice easy placement in the sky and the nebula is a easily recognisable shape although a lot dimmer.

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Would you guys say that any of the above mentioned nebula are visable with a 8" newt?

Taking great seeing conditions, dark skies and no lp into consideration!

You can see a lot with an 8". All the objects I seen from the Messier, Caldwell and Herschel lists (check signature) where observed with my 8".

Now the definition of "see" may change a bit. For some it's more like "detect" while others actually display some detail.

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Yes I agree with Paulo, you would be surprised how much you can see with a 8" Dobsonian Daz. You need to make sure your collimation is spot on, the mirrors fully cooled down to temperature and that the eyepieces are doing the job you require. Among other things :)

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Must admit M31 can be a bit of a disappointer at first. Due to its angle to us, only the core is clearly visible in modest conditions. It really takes a clear, crisp, moonless, unpolluted location to appreciate just how much of your field of view that thing is really taking up! One of those things where you need to use your imagination to appreciate just what your looking at

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I can see dust lanes in my 12" under mag ~6 skies. Knowing what to look for under darker skies has allowed me to spot them in slightly worse conditions (perhaps 5.5). I'm sure dust lanes would also be visible in a 10" under similar conditions.

They sure are i have seen them in my 10" when 25miles outside London.

Regards Steve

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