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Thread: First Andromeda Sighting!

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    Default First Andromeda Sighting!



    I've been an avid amateur star gazer for ages, but last night was my very first time seeing the M31 Andromeda Galaxy! Still really excited that I got to see it. I have some apps that are really helpful for locating objects. It was harder than I thought, I used my Nikon 10x50 6.5 bins. Cassiopeia was my guide, because it's so distinct. Used Schedar, and carefully gazed slightly southwest of that star, and at first didn't see anything. But then, what helped me was finding the Pisces triangle to the left of Mirach, and then just carefully gazing to the right, and bingo! Saw a very faint, smudge, in a slight elliptical form. It had to be Andromeda. I stared at it a minute, was very very faint, but I could see a gentle glow in the middle, the moon was fairly bright, and so much else was hidden, but I put my binoculars down for a sec, and found it again, so I know it had to be it. It was extremely faint, but distinct from the surrounding stars. If the moon hadn't been out, I might had been able to see it with the naked eye, but not sure on that. Gave me chills, thinking that this is actually another galaxy 2.5 million light years from here! Just to be able to see it, my very first galaxy sighting. Still pretty hard to find it, but I'm sure it will get easier now that I know where to look. I looked at it and thought, when this light left, there were no humans on earth, and every historical moment in human history hadn't happened yet. I have a small telescope too, that I am really excited to use to hopefully get a better view of it.

    I also looked for M51 (Whirlpool) at the very tip and to the right of the last star of the big dipper, but had no luck seeing anything. All I could make out were some more stars. Maybe because m51 is so much farther away, but I expected to see something even through 10x50 bins, and because it is face-on. But I'll keep trying.

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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Glad to hear of your WOW moment. Hopefully your scope will give you an even better view.
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on your first galaxy sighting! Awesome!

    My first M31 sigthing was with 10x50 binoculars too. Very exciting!

    Yeah, Ol' Hateful (the Moon) is putting a lot of wash on the sky right now. If your observing location is dark enough after the Moon gets out of the way, you should be able to spot M31 naked eye. I can usually see it this way from my backyard on a good night.

    Hopefully you'll get to point your scope at it soon!

    M51...never tried this one with binoculars myself. Definitely need to let the Moon go away for this galaxy pair. It can be tough even with a scope with significant light pollution (like the Moon!).

    Congratulations again, and welcome to the forum again! Looking forward to more of your observing reports!

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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Welcome to the forum and gratz on catching Andromeda galaxy!

    M51 might be tough to observe with binos. Face-on galaxies are actually harder to see because of lower surface brightness.

    With no moon around you could try for another face-on - Triangulum galaxy (M33). I was able to observe it relatively easy with binos under dark skies.

    There are a few other (easy) targets for binos visible now in addition to M31:

    Orion Nebula (M42), Pleiades (M45), Beehive (M44)

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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Congratulations on your first sighting of M31. I have seen M51 in 15x70 binoculars from a semi-dark location and in 10x50s from a dark location. The thing to remember about galaxies is that their light has to overcome the sky glow you have from your local light pollution, and currently that light from the moon as well. So your best bet is always observe when the moon is absent from the sky when going after galaxies. Galaxies are my favorite object and they can be fun and challenging.

    You may wish to take a look at my article where I talk about the factors that can impact the visibility of galaxies at the below link. Have fun and keep looking up!

    Why Can't I See That Galaxy?
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    I also have seen M51 in the 15x70's from a dark sky location last year, but not in the 10x50's. M33 will make a good target for your binos once the moon is down. It really knocks your socks off with 15x70's from a dark sky location. M31 looks great in either 10x50's or 15x70's, whether at home or not. Congrats on your first galaxy observation.

    Careful, you might get bitten by the galaxy bug!
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Congrats on finding Andromeda. Currently I have to resort to my bins as I haven't quite decided which scope to purchase. The skies haven't been very clear for me over the past week or so, resulting in nothing for me other than the moon. Going to do some research into galaxies and such to see what's available from my area. You've just motivated me even more. Getting tired of all this unclear sky. Patience is a virtue. Thanks!
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Hi Starrynight7. Great job finding M31 and viewing your first galaxy! Galaxies always bring me a lot of amazement over hold old the photons of light hitting my eye are.
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Hello and welcome to the forums Starrynight.
    Congratulations on viewing your first galaxy! M31 can be a great view from a reasonably dark location.
    Good luck with catching a view of M51, you will enjoy it when you finally get it.
    Spend some time checking out the lunar surface also, there is a lot of amazing things to see there too.
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    Default Re: First Andromeda Sighting!

    Hi Starrynight, and welcome to the Forum!

    Congratulations on your sighting. I know the excitement of seeing these fantastic objects for the first time. You'll never forget it.

    Clear skies!
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