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  1. #1
    Minorblues's Avatar
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    Default Andromeda galaxy magnitude of core v spiral arms ?



    I'm trying to figure out what kind of magnitudes I can see at home. From my backyard (yellow zone) using a 10" Dob around at either 50 or 100x I can see a hazy egg shape but no spiral arms or anythings like that. I have heard it should fill up the ep and that its as big as the moon. Its nowhere near as big as the full moon or even orion nebula (which is spectacular at 100x) for that matter. I feel like I am not seeing all of it. I have barely made out the Milkey Way w/ naked eye when Sagittarius was high and the sky was perfect and the neighbors lights out.

    According to stellarium the orion nebula is magnitude 4 and andromeda galaxy is 3.5. That difference between 3.5 and 4 makes a big difference. I am sure I'm seeing the 3.5, but what is the magnitude of the part of Andromeda I can't see?
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Minorblues View Post
    I can see a hazy egg shape but no spiral arms or anythings like that.
    That's pretty much all you are going to see.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Through a scope, you won't see much detail within the Andromeda Galaxy. You'll basically see a white smudge. Long-Exposure Photography is what's really needed to see any more detail.
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    Default

    thumps up for your article, great post...

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    There's a lot of ways to tumble the dice as far as luminosity - dark skies trump everything (eyes are a contrast function), my SkyTools puts it like this...

    Magnitude: 4.3 B (B-V): 0.92 ->[this I think the core region]
    Surface brightness: 22.5 (mag/arcsec²) diskSize: 2.6°x 1.1° -> [this I think the disk]

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    Default

    If you can only barely make out the milky way, then either your eyes aren't the best, or you're in a pretty strong yellow zone. I'm assuming you understand that a bright moon will add to the light pollution problem too.

    Also, with Andromeda, you won't see spiral arms because it's edge on. You'll see a dim disk. I can easily see it on a clear night through my 10 inch Schmidt Cassegrain. But, the outer area of the disk is indeed dimmer than the Orion Nebula, so if light pollution is enough of a problem, then no, you aren't seeing all of it. Just keep looking, some cloudless nights are clearer than others, and if you could get out of the yellow zone, you would probably definitely be able to see more of it.

    While you're at it, look for M110 and M32, which are right next to it. If you can spot M110, you're in good shape. At 50x, they might all be able to fit into the same field of view.
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    Light pollution is going to affect the way M31 looks. M42 is much less affected by LP.

    In my 4" mak I can see very minute details (I view from my home in a rural area in an orange sight). You can't really see arms but you can see faint dust trails. Another good idea is to look at pictures of M31 and then check it out through your scope.

    There is a good post on this forum that someone posted not too long ago but I can't find it. This post would have helped you out I think (hopefully someone will find it and post it).
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    The other night, at a dark site, Andromeda was fantastic, I could see it with naked eye, and in the 16" it was very cool. You could clearly see the arms, dust trails, and all.

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    Minorblues's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. It sounds like basically I need to get out of my backyard and find a darker site. Basically its a suburban backyard with street lights, neighbors porch lights and about 2 miles from a major interstate and a several shopping centers. I'm thinking yellow, but maybe on the cusp of orange.

    @powervolume - For what its worth, I have spotted one of the companion galaxy's, the oblong one. Its just off the field of view. Have looked for the other but not bagged it yet. Don't know if I'm missing it or if its a light pollution issue.

    I go from 50 to 100x by barlowing and IMHO I can't see any downside with regard to Orion Nebula; if anything I think its better at 100. When I barlow M31 its hard to tell if it gets fainter, but I think it does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minorblues View Post
    When I barlow M31 its hard to tell if it gets fainter, but I think it does.
    Deep sky objects are better in low power. Magnification will make them dimmer.

 

 
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