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What was the first galaxy you ever observed?

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#1 N. Ham

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:51 PM

I have to start at he beginning. Studied astronomy first at age nine. Got a 3 inch reflector from Kmart when I was 10. Technically it was a Newtonian, but that is a smear on the man's name! I did observe Saturn with it which planted a seed in me that germinated with the first bright comet in the mid nineties. Bought a cheap 465 power refractor which was a disaster. Rescued myself with a CG-11. Quite a leap, but I did survive the learning curve. That thing was hard to point for a late 30s beginner with its focal length around over 2200 mm. Frustration ruled my first few outings until one night star hopping in fairly light polluted skies I was just begging the DSO gods for a glimpse of M 51 when I realized I had been staring at it or several minutes. An accidental bump of he scope made it move so that I could see it. Wasn't long before I learned to use the setting circles and then bought some encoders and a celesta on advanced astromaster.

That is my story.

#2 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:00 PM

Our own Milky Way, before I had any optical system. Then M31, with my first scope--a 40mm terrestrial refractor--at age 13.

#3 Terry Fowler

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:02 PM

So far the only galaxy I've observed is the Milky Way. As soon as my monopod arrives I'll fix that.

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#4 kfiscus

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:54 PM

M-81 and 82 in my new Astroscan and 28 RKE in 1981. Life was goooood!

#5 David Knisely

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:03 AM

The very first galaxy I ever saw (other than the Milky Way) was M31. After my parents had gotten me a rather crude Sears 3 inch reflector in 1967, I had worked and worked to find it, finally locating it one fall night high above our TV antenna on our house. It was better in binoculars, as I had not yet learned how to use low power effectively. After that, the next one was, of course, M32 sitting next to it. It took quite a while (and a new 2.4 inch refractor for Christmas in 1968), but eventually I managed to find M81 and M82, followed by M64 and later on in 1969 by M33 (first seen in binoculars again). I probably picked up around 11 galaxies in that little 2.4 inch refractor before I went on to bigger things. Once I built my 8 inch f/7 Newtonian in 1972, the galaxies began piling up like cord wood. Clear skies to you.

#6 Astrojensen

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 02:53 AM

The very first galaxy I observed, other than the Milky Way, was M31, just like so many others here. My childhood skies were dark and clear, so I didn't need any optical gear to spot it. It was clear as day in my father's 10x50 binoculars, but it took some years before I was able to spot M32, and NGC 205 was even more difficult. The next galaxy I spotted after M31 was M33. I knew M81 was supposed to be big and bright, but it took me years to find. I don't think I saw it before I got my first 60mm and it took ages to find, as I didn't have any good maps.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#7 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 05:00 AM

My first galaxy was M31 with my Tasco 50mm refr in 1968. I still have the notes and sketch of this event.

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#8 azure1961p

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:20 AM

Besides our galaxy, M31. Next was M51.

M51 amazed me as I had a time-life book at home with this huge spread of the galaxy stating the unfathomable distance of 10 million light years. Come to find out it was much farther away than that.

The satisfaction of locating 51 and its companion was greater than that of M31. It was more obscure and so the reward was greater - seeing its companion was a major plus.

Pete

#9 Achernar

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:01 PM

The first galaxy I ever observed was the Andromeda Galaxy through my 6-inch telescope. That was an occasion to remember because I was in high school at the time.

Taras

#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

The Milky Way was also my first galaxy. I really can't recall what the first telescopic one was.

Dave Mitsky

#11 Silver Bear

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 07:29 PM

M-31 last winter, on a hunting trip. Cold, but crystal clear and dark skies. Saw it naked eye, then through my binoculars. Pointed it out to my brother-in-law, then told him to look at it through his hunting binoculars. He could only say "Wow!" for several seconds.

Andromeda was beautiful.

#12 Man in a Tub

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

M31

#13 Astrodj

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:23 PM

M31 also.

When I first got interested at age 10 I didn't have a scope yet, or binoculars, so I would lie on a blanket in our back yard and marvel at what must have been magnitude 6 or 6.5 skies. I didn't know much of anything about what I was seeing at age 10 and didn't know anyone else who did.

I could see what I later learned was M31 very easily straight overhead, but at the time I thought it must have been the LMC I had seen pictured in my Life Nature Library series book The Universe, my one resource.

Oops. :o

#14 galaxyman

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:58 PM

I'm thinking the question means beyond the Milky Way of course. For me that would have been M-31 also, and it was in 1969 with a 60mm refractor.

Karl
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#15 David Knisely

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:50 AM

M31 also.

When I first got interested at age 10 I didn't have a scope yet, or binoculars, so I would lie on a blanket in our back yard and marvel at what must have been magnitude 6 or 6.5 skies. I didn't know much of anything about what I was seeing at age 10 and didn't know anyone else who did.

I could see what I later learned was M31 very easily straight overhead, but at the time I thought it must have been the LMC I had seen pictured in my Life Nature Library series book The Universe, my one resource.

Oops. :o


Don't feel too bad about that. When I was 11 and playing with my older brother's 7-12x35 binoculars (he was a bird watcher), I had pointed them south one summer night when I saw a nice big oval fuzzy patch with stars around it. I instantly thought I had seen the Andromeda Galaxy, and it wasn't until a few years later that I learned it was actually the Lagoon Nebula. Still, I had actually *found* something in the sky, which was an accomplishment in and of itself. That pair of binoculars got me into astronomy in a big way. Clear skies to you.

#16 leviathan

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:40 AM

Looks like for me it was the pair of M51.

#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 05:04 AM

M31 was the first galaxy besides the Milky Way that I learned to recognize naked-eye and also the first that I observed through binoculars. That was during my first push into astronomy, using the Peterson Field Guide and 7x35 binoculars back in 1977, when I was 23. I may also have viewed other galaxies through binoculars at that time -- not sure.

The first galaxies I observed through a telescope were M81 and M82, through my 70-mm refractor in February 1997, from my local city park. That was the beginning of my second push, which culminated with my final Messier object (M79) in September 1997.

I'm intrigued how many people's second galaxy was M51, considering that it's not among the brightest.

#18 Feidb

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:34 AM

The Milky Way, of course, and then M-31 through my mentor Karl's 12-inch reflector in 1967. It was also the first galaxy I observed through my 8-inch f/9.44 reflector when I finished the mirror in late 1968.

#19 operascope

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:48 AM

The first galaxy I remember observing was M51. It was in very dark skies with my home made 8" f/5.6, and the spiral structure was easy to see. Even with my 12" I've had few observations of this galaxy that were as clear, and none as memorable.

#20 star drop

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:56 AM

After the Milky Way my first external galaxy was M31.

#21 kfiscus

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:38 AM

I'm surprised no one from the southern hemisphere has replied about the Magellanic Clouds.

#22 RAKing

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:15 AM

Like a lot of folks here, M31 was my first galaxy after looking at the Milky Way.

I grew up in Oklahoma and the Milky Way was a brilliant white river running through the sky. M31 was a naked eye 'blob' and my Dad gave me his binoculars so I could see it better. I later got a Sears refractor and carried it around for many years.

My Dad would take me outside and point out the various stars and other cool objects, starting when I was about 10 or 11. That was 56 years ago and I have been hooked ever since.

Cheers,

Ron

#23 DJCalma

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:20 AM

Observation log from Friday April 8, 1983:

60 mm. F/11.7 Meade refractor
Found my first galaxies. M81/82 in Ursa Major!
Brighter than I thought, both in the same field of view. M81 is brighter and slightly oval while M82 looks edge on.

#24 azure1961p

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 01:19 PM

Reminds me of the time as a kid I thought in seeing the Pleidies I had located the Little Dipper!

Pete

#25 SusanY

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 02:57 PM

Before I ever had a telescope - the two Magellanic Clouds. The first galaxy through a telescope - NGC 5128.






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