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Thread: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

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    Default Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies



    So, last week (18 June) I took out the scope after 11p to check out some galaxies. After fooling around with some brighter objects like Saturn, Polaris, and Mizar while waiting for the sky to fully darken, my first target was M51 in Canes Venatici, always a treat. I had a decent view of it and its companion, NGC 5195. M51 was not the featureless glow of many galaxies, but hinted at revealing some spiral arms...but not quite. The object was clearly visible in my 8x50 finder.

    Next stop was M106, a bright, elongated glow with a distinct core. Beautiful! Nearby, I tried to detect NGC 4217, but failed. At 63X I could find the field and the 11th and 12th mag stars near the galaxy, but the glow of the object could not be seen with certainty. 105X produced an even darker field and more contrast, but no nebulosity. A challenge for some future late winter/early spring night of superb transparency...

    Lastly, I hunted down M81 and M82, both clearly visible in the finder. These are both wonderful objects through an 8-inch telescope, but M82 is even better and draws your eye to its mottled, elongated glow for a long time. My other telescope, a 4.5 inch Newtonian shows both objects well, but the 8-inch really produces in comparison. After quickly viewing the M81 companion, NGC 3077--a small glow near some brighter stars--I covered the telescope for the night and hit the sack. By then, the temp had fallen to the low 40s F (headed for 35 F by morning), and the mosquitoes had mostly given up their attacks.
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Thanks Gordon! Good stuff! There are so many galaxies between these two constellations...

    I've only bagged 70 of them, and there are well over a hundred left that should be reachable with my scope, and countless more that I'll never see. A great area of the sky to get lost in.

    Great report!!
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Great report Gordon, thank you for sharing!! I spent a little time in this area a couple days ago as well, catching M106, M94, M101, and M51 as well. I still have a huge amount of objects to find in the area, and I'm hoping to find Markarian's Chain and all of those objects in my next couple of sessions.

    How dark is your observing site? I've been trying to find some structure in M51 lately, but haven't been able to pull any out yet.

    Clear, dark skies!!
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Quote Originally Posted by mwillis321 View Post
    Great report Gordon, thank you for sharing!! I spent a little time in this area a couple days ago as well, catching M106, M94, M101, and M51 as well. I still have a huge amount of objects to find in the area, and I'm hoping to find Markarian's Chain and all of those objects in my next couple of sessions.

    How dark is your observing site? I've been trying to find some structure in M51 lately, but haven't been able to pull any out yet.

    Clear, dark skies!!
    Hi Matt, On the best nights I have a Bortle 3 sky, but on average nights it tends toward Bortle 4. I think that I will start focusing my observing sessions on smaller areas and really try to capture as many objects in those areas as possible, rather than jumping around a lot.
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    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Nice report Gordon thanks!
    lots to see in those areas
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Quote Originally Posted by Arctic View Post
    Hi Matt, On the best nights I have a Bortle 3 sky, but on average nights it tends toward Bortle 4. I think that I will start focusing my observing sessions on smaller areas and really try to capture as many objects in those areas as possible, rather than jumping around a lot.
    I agree with you Gordon. I too have had a tendancy to wander a bit when at the dark site, which varies typically around Bortle 2 to 3 at best and about 4 on poorer nights. I think because it is so nice and there is so much available to go after that it can almost be a bit overwhelming. I have worked out some planning that tends to structure future sessions to focus more on a constellation basis. The only exception to that is when I plan on a Hickson session, which dictates moving around the sky much more.
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Quote Originally Posted by mwillis321 View Post
    I've been trying to find some structure in M51 lately, but haven't been able to pull any out yet.
    Matt, not to distract from Gordon's thread, but I was wondering what you have seen in M51? I presume you are seeing the overall roundish hazy glow of the spiral structure surrounding the core and perhaps overlapping with NGC 5195. Within that glow, have you noticed any subtle variations of shading between light and dark? If so then your eye is picking up indications of spiral structure as it is discerning the subtle shading differences between the brightness within the arm and the darker dust lanes that are along the arm's edges. I know sometimes observers see detail that they don't really recognize as such. That is why I am asking.
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Very nice report Gordon! Great area to observe some really exciting DSOs. I too tend to wander around on a really great night probably just overwhelmed at the what's available to see. It's not time wasted because I enjoy the views but I don't get a lot accomplished. Glad you had a great night! Sort of wish we had a little of that cool air down here. Already have the skeeters!
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Quote Originally Posted by 10538 View Post
    Sort of wish we had a little of that cool air down here. Already have the skeeters!
    I've been around Albemarle Sound north of you a few times over the years. I seem to remember some big black skeeters that wanted to try and carry me home for supper!
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    Default Re: Canes Venatici and Ursa Major Galaxies

    Nice report. I did manage to bag M51 and its companion on a very clear, moonless night from my light polluted (border of orange/red zones) location with my 4.5" Newt. Just 2 fuzzy blobs, but I wonder what I might see now with my new 11". Man, I wish these clouds would clear up.
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