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M101 Galaxy in Ursa Major


DarkerSky
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Sat 26 Feb. Spent some time on M101 with my 16" scope on Saturday and got this >>

16" x107

Neodymimum filter

TFOV 0.63 degrees

M101.png

It was an amazing observation experience. I tracked the galaxy down by following a mazy line of stars from Mizar. When I found it the galaxy was at approx 50 degrees above the horizon. All I could make out initially was a large soft glow with a brighter elongated core and a smattering of field stars.

But the longer I looked, the more I saw. My neodymium filter did help me out by darkening the sky background, giving me better contrast. Also, as the clock ticked on past 1am the sky had grown much darker with less local light and a higher altitude for the galaxy. It must have been at about 70 degrees by then.

Managed to pick out a gentle curved glow on the other side of the core from the bright field star. Next I got two gentle puffs of light out to the east, in one of the outer arms. These knots I believe are NGC 5461 and NGC 5462.

Later I picked up a gentle but fainter glow moving through two field stars to the NW, and lastly a more defined curvature to the south, which I am again assuming is one of the arms.

All in all a memorable night!

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M101 is a very tough target to sketch and you even show brightness in the arm, aperture rules with these faint objects and you have managed to show the spiral structure which is impressive.

John.

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Superb sketch. You have really caught it's ghostly appearence and some of the areas brightness in the spiral arms. This is a lovely object and you have captured its ethereal charecter. It really does show up nicely under a bit of aperture.

I have noted a few threads recently about people struggling to find M101. I suspect observers with smaller scopes probably are looking at it but with its low SB it is easy to look straight through it.

Thanks for sharing, and I do like your sketching style.

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I have noted a few threads recently about people struggling to find M101. I suspect observers with smaller scopes probably are looking at it but with its low SB it is easy to look straight through it.

I think that might be very much the case. On first glance it can be difficult to see. I've had a look at this in my 8.5" scope and had to move the scope back and forth so M101 went through my field of view a few times to be sure it was there.

Edited by DarkerSky
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