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What Am I Looking For?

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:22 pm
by Joop
Is there anywhere I can obtain images or information of what exactly deep space objects, such as M31, will look like using a small (130mm) telescope? I'm having difficulty finding M31 and M32, even with a go-to mount, and I suspect that it's just me not recognising what's there. I've see the usual photographs but I appreciate that astrophotography provides much more detail and colour than the eye can see, so it would help if I knew exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Re: What Am I Looking For?

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:11 pm
by David Frydman
M31 is large.
You would probably be better off finding it in say a 10x50 binocular if you have one. Or any binocular. It may look like a 2 degree long ellipse, although the full extent is 5 degrees in very dark skies.
There will be no colour just a vague dim grey maybe.

Try star hoping using star maps.

At high power in a 130mm scope the whole field may be nebula.

If you only have the scope use the lowest magnification.

It helps if you have a dark sky where with average eyes it is easily seen with no optical aid.

Find M31 before bothering with M32.

It is best to learn the constellations first without optical aid.

If you have to use go-to maybe try M81 and M82 with a low power eyepiece. They are smaller.

Also M27, M57, M13 and when visible M42.
Not sure when these are visible.
Try to get them high in the sky.
With some you need higher powers.


Re: What Am I Looking For?

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:34 pm
by Brian
Hi Joop :)

Have a look at the DeepSky Watch site, especially the Astronomical Sketches section, where there are many sketches of deepsky objects made at the eyepiece. I think they were made with a larger aperture than you are using, but they are much more true to reality than the usual Hubble Images :lol:

Bear in mind though that the observing site (seeing and light pollution especially) can make a difference to the appearance of DSOs at the eyepiece,


Re: What Am I Looking For?

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:44 pm
by David1952

I understand your problem . To help me, I am building a glossary of Messier object. Here is example of M31. I have tried to make it look as though a small telescope under low mag. I probably get too much colour. I hope that helps.

David D

Re: What Am I Looking For?

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:33 am
by Joop
Thanks all for your advice.

It's been most helpful and I'm now looking forward to the next clear-sky night.