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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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Jmax
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: Alabama
M74 is Tough new
      #6065855 - 09/06/13 10:35 AM

I posted about this in the 'General' forum, but it really fits better here. I went out last night with the intention of finishing my Messier list. I only had M30 and M74 to go. Anyway, M30 was a snap. It was a bright, but small looking globular with a bright star directly beside it at 30x, through my 102gt. At 60x it started to appear not to be nearly as small, just that the outer stars are much dimmer than the core.

M74, on the other hand, was truly difficult from my yellow/orange back yard. I could not even begin to see anything until it got really high in the sky. I do think I finally was able to detect it by using my C80ed and 102gt in concert. I had a 32mm eyepiece in the 80gt and a 20mm in the 102. I actually first perceived a very faint glowing smudge in the 80 and centered things up in the 102. Through the 20mm eyepiece in the 102, something was definitely there. It was a small, dim, orb that had no structure and was only visible with great eye strain, averted vision, and moving the scope slightly back and forth.

I would say my confidence level that I saw it is somewhere around 70%, but that is not good enough to claim victory. My astronomy club's monthly star party is Saturday night, and I'm going to make sure and go back to this little galaxy with my C9.25. I'm also going to try taking at least a couple of quick pictures to both confirm that it is really there and hopefully pick up the supernova.

I guess, as it stands now I've seen 109.7 of the Messiers


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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6066072 - 09/06/13 12:43 PM

This one can be a stinker. Your impression of it in the 102mm is the same as mine when the transparency is poorer. My views get really mushy when the humidity, pollution and pollen are up as the skyglow gets much worse when this happens. On great nights I get a hint of more than just a core. GL

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npc
super member


Reged: 03/23/13

Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6066431 - 09/06/13 03:51 PM

M74 was the last checkmark on my Messier list as well. The combination of the time of year it's visible plus its low surface brightness meant that this one remained unchecked on my list for a long time.

Over the last few months, I've actually seen in quite frequently with a 130mm reflector from yellow/green sites. I'm guessing you'll have no problem with the 102 if you can get to a slightly darker site and view it near transit.

From my house in the suburbs, though, I've got no shot at it with any optics in my collection.

Congrats on your pending completion of your list.


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hbanich
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/17/05

Loc: Portland, Oregon
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: npc]
      #6066577 - 09/06/13 05:28 PM

M74 is surprisingly faint even in large scopes, and needs a truly dark, transparent sky to stand out well. Keep at it and try higher power and averted vision to see if you can get a more definite view. For what it's worth, I've seen it well through a 100mm refractor from the Oregon Star Party.

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IVM
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/07/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: hbanich]
      #6067306 - 09/07/13 07:15 AM

Indeed if you are interested in this galaxy, it will remain tough no matter (as far as I can tell!) what aperture you haul to how dark a site. Once you've seen it well as a featureless fuzzy (from a dark site it will look bright, bright, bright in a 4"), you'll want to see the arms; once you've seen the arms, you'll want to see details within the arms. A fine galaxy like M74 always seems to tantalize and promise the most at the limit of our vision.

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GlennLeDrew
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: IVM]
      #6067341 - 09/07/13 07:55 AM

Under a green/blue zone sky (SQM: 21.3), M74 can be seen in 15X70 binos without any great difficulty.

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David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: IVM]
      #6067789 - 09/07/13 01:11 PM

Quote:

Indeed if you are interested in this galaxy, it will remain tough no matter (as far as I can tell!) what aperture you haul to how dark a site. Once you've seen it well as a featureless fuzzy (from a dark site it will look bright, bright, bright in a 4"), you'll want to see the arms; once you've seen the arms, you'll want to see details within the arms. A fine galaxy like M74 always seems to tantalize and promise the most at the limit of our vision.




Yes, but the spiral structure in M74 can be difficult to see at best. Mostly what is seen is the brighter core surrounded by a diffuse haze that has some patchy low-contrast mottling in it. Even in some rather large scopes, the spiral form doesn't often come out nearly as well as that of a galaxy like M51. In my 14 inch under dark skies, I can see many dim patches in the outer haze, but it often just hints at the "grand design" spiral form that is shown in images rather than being extremely obvious as in M51's case. Still, on a good dark night, it is worth a look. Clear skies to you.


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IVM
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/07/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: David Knisely]
      #6068550 - 09/07/13 09:12 PM

I actually like galaxies where the arms are only traced by enhancements that are not visually connected. The arms in M74 are a little more definite, more continuous than that for me. Still, I agree. To pronounce M51 a spiral (for the first time, as Lord Rosse did) was a great feat of abstract conceptualization; it is (even more) unimaginable to me on such visual material as M74.

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Jmax
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: Alabama
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6070943 - 09/09/13 10:08 AM

I found it through my 8" reflector at the star party this weekend. It was very dim and without much detail. Through my 9.25 it just began to give hints of being bigger than just the core. One of the other members had a 14" Dob, and even through it, there just wasn't much there. We both commented that it was really amazing that this object was even visible in an 18th century scope. But, it was much darker then. We were in a green zone.

I have completed my Messiers using goto. Next, I must find them all the old fashioned way. It will be fun!


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kt4hx
super member
*****

Reged: 01/21/09

Loc: Fredericksburg, Va
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6078018 - 09/12/13 11:44 PM

Last week during our trip to a dark site (Bortle 2), M74 was pretty bright overall in the Z10. The spiral structure was detected as subtle contrast differences in the outer halo around the bright core.

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Allan Wade
sage


Reged: 01/27/13

Loc: Newcastle, Australia
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: kt4hx]
      #6078335 - 09/13/13 08:13 AM

I'm working my way through the Messier's with my bino's. I was at a nice dark site recently and could clearly see M74 in my 15x70. Having studied the field for a while I switched to my 10x50 and that was a real challenge. I had to mount the bino's and observe for some time before confirming I was seeing it. I would have had no chance if I wasn't under a really dark sky.

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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Allan Wade]
      #6078639 - 09/13/13 12:21 PM

I tend to think of M74 as a "miniature M33".

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blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: ensign]
      #6078696 - 09/13/13 12:48 PM

Quote:

I tend to think of M74 as a "miniature M33".



And therefore it has a lower surface brightness than most of the Messier list. Because of the lower surface brightness it is much harder to see with light pollution. Dark skies are best when viewing this one.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: blb]
      #6079403 - 09/13/13 08:49 PM

I have seen M-74 about 6 times in my life. 3 times from my yard, (very unimpressive in mag 4.5 skies), and 3 times from a darker spot I go to,(mag 5.2 skies and still unimpressive).

It's my least favorite Messier object to look at.

I am sure it would show some arm structure in really dark skies.


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Philler
sage


Reged: 07/15/13

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6086831 - 09/17/13 09:18 PM

When I first tried for M 74 with an 8" Dob. it was from fairly dark, clear skies and I don't remember having any trouble seeing it at something like 35x. It's M 33 that can be elusive with binoculars or a scope.

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David Knisely
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: ensign]
      #6087012 - 09/17/13 10:59 PM

Quote:

I tend to think of M74 as a "miniature M33".




I think it is a lot more like a "miniature M101" than M33. I can see the two main arms of M33 in a good 8 inch from a dark sky site with little trouble (and can just make out one of the two arms from my driveway in a 4 inch refractor), yet the spiral structure of M101 doesn't come out well in similar apertures. In a 10 inch, M101 can occasionally show some hints of its overall spiral form, but in smaller scopes, it is more of a large dim hazy area with perhaps some slight low-contrast mottling. M74 is quite similar in that respect except that its surface brightness (13.7 mag./sq-arcmin) is slightly higher than M101's (14.0 mag/sq-arcmin). Clear skies to you.


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turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
*****

Reged: 10/09/06

Re: M74 is Tough [Re: David Knisely]
      #6087159 - 09/18/13 12:23 AM

These galaxies (M33, M74 and M101) seem to benefit even more from dark skies than from aperture. I've easily spotted M33 in binoculars from a dark site with binoculars, but in my old 12" LX200, it was virtually invisible from my suburban backyard even with mild light pollution.

Of course, the real solution is dark skies *and* aperture. With my 18" at a dark site, M33 and M101 show great detail and M74 comes to life.


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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: David Knisely]
      #6091583 - 09/20/13 11:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I tend to think of M74 as a "miniature M33".




I think it is a lot more like a "miniature M101" than M33. I can see the two main arms of M33 in a good 8 inch from a dark sky site with little trouble (and can just make out one of the two arms from my driveway in a 4 inch refractor), yet the spiral structure of M101 doesn't come out well in similar apertures. In a 10 inch, M101 can occasionally show some hints of its overall spiral form, but in smaller scopes, it is more of a large dim hazy area with perhaps some slight low-contrast mottling. M74 is quite similar in that respect except that its surface brightness (13.7 mag./sq-arcmin) is slightly higher than M101's (14.0 mag/sq-arcmin). Clear skies to you.




I think of it more like a "miniature M33" as both M33 and M74 have a surface brightness of 23 magnitudes per arc second. M101 has a surface brighness ot 23.8 magnitudes per arc second.


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Kevdog
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/11/12

Loc: Desert Hills, AZ
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6092254 - 09/20/13 06:17 PM

Quote:

M74, on the other hand, was truly difficult from my yellow/orange back yard. I could not even begin to see anything until it got really high in the sky. I do think I finally was able to detect it by using my C80ed and 102gt in concert. I had a 32mm eyepiece in the 80gt and a 20mm in the 102. I actually first perceived a very faint glowing smudge in the 80 and centered things up in the 102. Through the 20mm eyepiece in the 102, something was definitely there. It was a small, dim, orb that had no structure and was only visible with great eye strain, averted vision, and moving the scope slightly back and forth.





When the supernova appeared in M74 I tried to find it with my 18" Dob in a yellow/orange zone (my house). I'm still new to Star hopping (it was my 2nd night out with the dob and no goto). Even so I'm pretty sure I was in the right place and I could not find it.

I'll have to try again now that I'm a bit more confident and have some good star charts now, but I'm still not thinking it'll show up well. May have to wait til I have the C11 at a dark site to really see it.

(FWIW I now have 3 of my 110 M objects properly viewed and logged without Goto. Wheeeee!)


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hokkaido53
sage


Reged: 05/07/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: M74 is Tough new [Re: Jmax]
      #6092603 - 09/20/13 10:30 PM

M74 can be tricky. I saw it the other night from my Bortle 3 backyard sky, and it appeared like a fuzzy oval patch in my 18" dob - no spiral arms. But there have been other nights - clear nights - when I haven't seen it at all, even when using an ArgoNavis system. I think the slightest haze in the upper atmosphere dims it out.

Roy


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