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What am I doing wrong? Can't find M31 & M51

Started by paulko85, 03/15/2011 01:07AM
Posted 03/15/2011 01:07AM Opening Post
Viewing Conditions:
` Day before First Quarter Moon
` "Mostly cloudy" according to weather.com
...It was mostly clear with clouds drifting across once in awhile, and contrails from airplanes farting across the sky.
` Latitude, 33°N
` Don't know how to accurately describe the light pollution here, but I'm in the suburbs outside of Los Angeles County and it isn't as bad as L.A. It isn't the "sticks" type of suburbs.
` Telescope: Celestron C9.25 (2350mm focal length)

Well, with that said. . .I found two objects in the sky that I thought were Andromeda and Whirlpool, but both looked like tiny Betelgeuse with an even smaller Betelgeuse right next to it. I scanned at first with a 24mm and zoomed in on the "targets" with an 8mm and it hasn't changed anything. Do I need higher magnification or am I missing M31 and M51 entirely?

Even the Orion Nebula didn't look that bad that night. I need other things to show the public!
Posted 03/15/2011 02:56AM #1
Okay. M31 with the 9.25 at about f 10 and 24 mm eyepiece, you are at about 95x. True field of maybe .6 degrees, or 1.o degree with an Ethos. The Great Galaxy is a good 2 degrees across, and should look better in the finder scope. You could be looking right through it.

I started out using an f15 5 inch refractor and got about .6 degrees true field maximum. I could find M31 pretty easily. The Whirlpool certainly showed up. But, everything was hard to find with .6 degrees. You have to be right on the object(and know that you're on the object.

Posted 03/15/2011 03:07AM | Edited 03/15/2011 03:09AM #2
Paul Ko said:

Viewing Conditions:
` Day before First Quarter Moon
` "Mostly cloudy" according to weather.com
...It was mostly clear with clouds drifting across once in awhile, and contrails from airplanes farting across the sky.
` Latitude, 33°N
` Don't know how to accurately describe the light pollution here, but I'm in the suburbs outside of Los Angeles County and it isn't as bad as L.A. It isn't the "sticks" type of suburbs.
` Telescope: Celestron C9.25 (2350mm focal length)

Well, with that said. . .I found two objects in the sky that I thought were Andromeda and Whirlpool, but both looked like tiny Betelgeuse with an even smaller Betelgeuse right next to it. I scanned at first with a 24mm and zoomed in on the "targets" with an 8mm and it hasn't changed anything. Do I need higher magnification or am I missing M31 and M51 entirely?

Even the Orion Nebula didn't look that bad that night. I need other things to show the public!

Don't expect to see things like the glossy images in S&T or your favorite astronomy picturebook.

I live in decent skies, rural AZ, about 65 miles SSW of Phoenix and M31 is still a fussy blob/bright core in the t'scope ([email protected] on a CG5)....Others feel free to correct me on this, in your skies Paul, you will need better than a C14 to see any detail.

It is what it is...
Posted 03/15/2011 12:50PM #3
Also, if you are in SOuthern California, we have had high thin moisture in the air over the last month or so that has really limited the visibility of these objects. If you are looking in the early evening, these objects are towards the western or eastern horizons, where that moisture layer is the thickest. I would not be surprised at all if it wiped out your visibility of these objects.

Alex