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Most over-rated DSO?

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#26 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:35 AM

I find M 31 to be disappointing.


M31 is a tough galaxy to observe. It's intriguing that something so big and bright shows so much less detail than much smaller and fainter M33.

#27 ggalilei

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:44 AM

Is that because M33 is face-on? Or probably because its core is not as bright.

#28 LivingNDixie

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:06 AM

I like the suggestions of M40 and the Horsehead.

#29 ThreeD

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:48 AM

People chase the Horsehead because it is perceived as serious challenge object and not because it is touted as being a thing of beauty. Viewing The Horsehead is a matter of being able to check off a box that most visual observers will never be able to check. (I'm speaking as one who hopes to check it off this upcoming viewing season.)

The Messier catalog on the other hand generally contains what I would describe as eye candy. Sure, not all of it is sweet but it is a collection of generally pretty easy to see relatively cool things. And then there is M40. If one is expecting at least some level of eye candy then M40 wins the belly flop contest hands down. There is no beauty in M40 beyond what is achieved by looking at any random star and as a double it is also a belly flop. There are no redeeming qualities other than you need to see it to complete the Messier catalog.

Yes, The Horsehead may not look like much when observed visually but at least one needs some skill, the right equipment, and the right conditions. M40? Bleh.

#30 David Knisely

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 01:02 PM

I don't find M31 all that disappointing. The main problem with it is that it is so big and that to see all of its detail requires a lot of study at a sort of "magic power" that you have to find yourself. For so many years, I never saw the dust lanes in M31 until I increased the power by accident one time. Then, the first lane became rather obvious, even in my 9.25 inch SCT. My magic power for that scope was with my 14mm Ultrawide eyepiece (168x), although the dust lanes also showed up well at only 98x. Indeed, my 14 inch shows dark knots in the edges of the large arm that passes below the core region at around 134x, so the galaxy is hardly devoid of detail. It just takes a little study, that's all. Clear skies to you.

#31 blb

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:01 PM

I find M 31 to be disappointing. Looked at it through a 24" Dob two weekends ago, looked the same as with my 16" Dob, just bigger.

Yes it always looked the same to me in every scope I looked at it with, a very large oval blur that is brighter in the center, untill I looked at it from a really dark site with my AT66 semi-APO refractor. I then could see two dust lanes across the galaxy and the galaxy was larger (longer) than my 4 degree field-of-view. For some things bigger is not always better.

I will strongly disagree with this statement. While other planetary nebula show the "blinking" effect in my 8" scope, it is far more pronounced and obvious with NGC 6826 than any other I have seen.

The nebula does not blink. This blinking illusion is dependent on your ability to switch back an forth between direct and averted vision and it has been said, many planetery nebula appear to blink and they do if you can switch between direct and averted vision easily.

#32 ensign

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:37 PM

Heresy! No DSO is over-rated! :flame:

#33 RAKing

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:21 PM

I don't find M31 all that disappointing. The main problem with it is that it is so big and that to see all of its detail requires a lot of study at a sort of "magic power" that you have to find yourself. For so many years, I never saw the dust lanes in M31 until I increased the power by accident one time. Then, the became rather obvious, even in my 9.25 inch SCT. My magic power for that scope was with my 14mm Ultrawide eyepiece (168x), although the dust lanes also showed up well at only 98x. Indeed, my 14 inch shows dark knots in the edges of the large arm that passes below the core region at around 134x, so the galaxy is hardly devoid of detail. It just takes a little study, that's all. Clear skies to you.


Thanks! M31 was the first DSO my Dad ever showed to me and over the past 58 years, it has remained my all-time favorite. There have been a few wonderous nights where the dust lanes and detail were incredible and M31 looked almost like a photograph. My favorite nights are when I can frame all three (M31, 32, and 110) in the same FOV, then I zoom into each and study it in detail.

These are certainly not over-rated in my book; they are overwhelming! :cool:

Cheers,

Ron

#34 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:39 PM

Heresy! No DSO is over-rated!


When all is said and done, I agree. I love them all.

#35 mountain monk

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:19 PM

M31 overrated? Good grief!!!

Dark skies.

Jack

#36 turtle86

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:06 PM

I find M 31 to be disappointing.


M31 is a tough galaxy to observe. It's intriguing that something so big and bright shows so much less detail than much smaller and fainter M33.


I'm guessing that the orientation of M31 has a lot to do with that. I suspect that if it were face on like M33 it would be quite a sight to behold.

#37 turtle86

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:19 PM

The one that comes instantly to my mind is the Horsehead Nebula. So much effort is expended seeing it, and the view is bland even with a large telescope and a Hydrogen-Beta filter at a dark site.

My two criteria for what makes an object worthwhile to spend time on are either aesthetic beauty or astrophysical interest. Many of our favorite objects like M51 and M42 have both going for them. I can't get enough of the Veil Nebula, which is exceedingly beautiful, but of little astrophysical interest. The Crab Nebula currently has been written about in 4328 papers, so it's a worthy target despite it's faintness. Then there's the Horsehead Nebula, whose fascination is apparently that it looks cool in images.

Tom


I think that the Horsehead Nebula gets much of its intrigue from being a somewhat unusual combination of both a well-known (and beautiful) photographic object and a well-known challenge object at the same time.

#38 Astrodj

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:24 PM

Then look at M31 with a big bino or RFT.


+1

Or even a not so big bino. Years ago under a near perfect New Mexico sky I saw M31 with my 10x50's and was blown away. The 3D-like appearance was staggering.

#39 mountain monk

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:16 PM

If you be a doubting Thomas, then come on out and look at M31 from a black/gray zone sky at 6800 feet with a NP-101 and a 17mm Ethos. I doubt you will be bored.

Dark skies.

Jack

#40 JasonBurry

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:35 PM

Never been bored by M31 myself.... One of my favourite targets for my 8" dob....

I've spent hours tracing the gentle curves of its dark lanes, hunting down G1, the bright star forming region that makes a right triangle with M32/M110, observing its nucleus at high power (It ain't as simple as at first glance, there is detail there!)...

There IS alot of detail to be seen, but it takes patience and averted vision and what I think of as "integration time"...

There is no better galaxy, imho, to start someone out on galaxy observing with. At first glance a plain oval smudge, maybe 2 degrees long, but with careful and repeated study, much, much larger than that, far from plain and wonderfully varied.

J

#41 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:23 PM

Never been bored by M31 myself....


Agreed. Frustrated sometimes, but never bored.

As it happens, I am right now editing an article on observing M31. My only problem is how to cram all the information into three pages, because there's so much to see.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope

#42 ThreeD

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:18 AM

Never been bored by M31 myself....


Agreed. Frustrated sometimes, but never bored.

As it happens, I am right now editing an article on observing M31. My only problem is how to cram all the information into three pages, because there's so much to see.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope

2 part article?

#43 azure1961p

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 02:33 AM

+1

This is a little universe all in itself without peer really. I'd think a two parter would be a great idea - and nice marketing . Any observer new or advanced who reads part one HAS to read the following issue.


Pete

#44 City Kid

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:53 AM

If you be a doubting Thomas, then come on out and look at M31 from a black/gray zone sky at 6800 feet with a NP-101 and a 17mm Ethos. I doubt you will be bored.


+1 !! I always thought M31 was a "nice" galaxy but nothing special about it other than I could see it from my light polluted backyard. THEN I observed it through my NP101 at the Nebraska Star Party (black zone) with my 13mm Ethos and I couldn't stop looking at it! It was like a picture only much better.

#45 City Kid

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:12 AM

The *Blinking Planetary* in Cygnus since 1. It does no such thing, 2. Any number of averted vision sensitive deepsky objects will appear to vanish and reappear given proper or improper attention.
Its just a nice fairly bright planetary with an easy central star. That's all.


I think this one, like most, depends on the skies and the telescope being used. I just recently observed this one with my 12.5" under moderately dark skies and I was totally blown away. I was so impressed I posted in the Deep Sky Observing forum about it, thinking it was the first time I had ever observed it. Then I went through my notes and realized I had seen it before but with my 8" in my backyard. It just didn't make an impression on me with an 8" in light polluted skies like it did with a 12.5" under dark skies. Sure lots of objects are visible with averted vision and disappear with direct vision. What sets the Blinking Planetary apart is how incredibly bright it is with averted vision yet invisible with direct vision.

#46 ADW

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:23 PM

Most over-hyped is the Jewel Box Cluster, NGC 4755 in Crux. It is just okay in a 14.5-inch Dob. Those who take something like a 4-inch refractor for their first observing run in the southern hemisphere are very disappointed -- the cluster with the great name is sparse in small apertures.

All of these far-southern (south of dec -40)open clusters are superior to the Jewel Box:
NGC 3532, the Football Cluster in Carina, gets my vote as the finest open cluster in the sky.
NGC 2516 in Carina
NGC 2547, the Heart Cluster, in Vela
IC 2391, the Omicron Velorum Cluster
NGC 3293, the Gem Cluster in Carina
IC 2602, the Theta Carinae Cluster
NGC 3766 in Centaurus
NGC 6025 in Triangulum Australe
NGC 6231 in Scorpius (forms the coma of the unaided-eye False Comet)
IC 4651 in Ara

But ask any northern hemisphere amateur who hasn't yet observed the far southern sky what open cluster they most want to see and they will probably name the Jewel Box which offers no more than say M36, the least of the three Messiers in Auriga.

Alan Whitman

#47 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 04:59 AM

Alan,
After four trips to Oz, I have to say you're right about so many of your listed clusters being rather more impressive than the Jewel Box. The first time I saw the latter, it was a bit of a let-down, and only reinforced by the numerous but less trumpeted clusters splattering that deep southern milky way.

#48 WadeVC

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 04:58 AM

Heresy! No DSO is over-rated! :flame:

I'll go along with that.

I used to take part in questions like this, but look at some of the replies to others' responses...I get so tired of someone saying what THEY think is over/under rated, and *BOOM*, there always has to be a few that "challenge" or "Disagrees" with what someone else chose as their answer.

If someone thinks, for example, that M20 is over-rated, how can (or why would) anyone try and question what one likes or dislikes, or try to "correct" them on their choice?

But I'll bite. My choice would be M49

#49 MarcF650R

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 07:32 AM

M31 in our TV 76 or Pronto could rank as an underrated experience...especially in a star-studded dark sky...

#50 aa6ww

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 01:56 AM

I love the blinking planetary. In my C14, I kept going back to it again and again during one weekend of viewing. Every time I found it, I would look at it, then look away and was just tickled at how it literally would blink at you. I always thought it was the blind spot right in the center of your eye which caused it to blink. Regardless, one can't really have a discussion about this object without actually looking at it. That's whats fun about the Blinking Planetary. People that do lots of talking out here, and don't really observe, cant really comment on this object. How funny is that. It definitely makes this object as one of the very few objects people really don't talk about in depth, cuz you cant see it blink unless you've actually seen it.

.... Ralph in Sacramento.

The *Blinking Planetary* in Cygnus since 1. It does no such thing, 2. Any number of averted vision sensitive deepsky objects will appear to vanish and reappear given proper or improper attention.
Its just a nice fairly bright planetary with an easy central star. That's all.

Pete








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