Messier 106 is one of my favourite Messier galaxies. In a small telescope M106 offers a surprising sight. Not only is it an bright object, it also shows some distinct features. At low power, the galaxy appears elongated in a N-S direction. At first sight, the nucleus appears stellar to me. But then with a closer look, the nuclear region seems to be broken in pieces. The northern spiral arm is the most conspicuous one. It can be followed from the core to the northern edge of the halo. There are some traces of the southern arm visible as well, but they do not stand out that easily against the mottled glow of the galaxyâ€™s halo. An interesting exercise is to look for dark features or patches within the soft glow of the halo. M106 is estimated to be 25 million l-y away. This bright galaxy can be found halfway on an imaginary line drawn from Gamma Ursae Majoris to Beta Canes Venaticorum.
Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium ( 51Â° N )
Date : March 23, 2009
Time : around 21.30 UT
Scope : Skywatcher 102/500mm achromatic refractor
Eyepiece : Baader Hyperion Zoom at 8mm
Magnifiction : 63x
Filter : none
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 2/5
Sky brightness : 19.42 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.