Messier List v. Binoculars
Posted 04 July 2005 - 04:45 PM
It's strange what thoughts occur to me in the middle of a holiday thunderstorm.
Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:01 PM
There are those that might claim to have seen all 109 M objects with 10x50s. Frankly, I'm more than a bit sceptical. For a couple years, I tried, and failed, to complete single night Messier marathons with some mounted 16x70s, but will readily admit that my seeing conditions were far from optimal. I'm embarrassed to admit that my tallies of M objects in 10x50s, 12x50s and 16x70s are all around more or less the same 70-80 something objects. Perhaps in much better skies, with much more sky visible that would radically change, but it seems to be where I'm stuck, viewing from various tree lined bowls in central NC.
Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:33 PM
Posted 04 July 2005 - 07:08 PM
Posted 04 July 2005 - 08:08 PM
Hey EdZ - this a little bit "cross-topic", but have you even given thought to putting together your own or a Cloudy Nights "Bino Club" or similar observing list? I'd be interested to see what a veteran like you would include on it.
Posted 04 July 2005 - 09:41 PM
deep dark skies is your most important asset.
Right you are. I should have mentioned that all the Messiers I saw (or not as the case may be) with my 18x50's were in skies at least mag 5.5. For some of the more challenging galaxies like M74 probably closer to mag 6. Also, I mounted them for the serious hunting so I could leave the eyepieces to consult a star chart without losing my position in the sky.
I've not seen m109 in any binocular....there are a few in the Virgo/Coma area that I just can't seem to see even in 100mm binoculars.
I would suggest using a higher magnification to finish the Messier list in your BT100. I captured every M galaxy at the marathon this year in my 32x82 Highlander except for early object M74 - will have to pick it up this fall.
Posted 04 July 2005 - 09:55 PM
So that was my approach, but along the way, I discovered what was repeated above over and over. Dark skies rule. With a good dark sky site, you should be able to approach 100 Messiers with 10X 50s. Something else I found along the way was that your naked eye doesn’t always tell you that you have a great night for DSOs. On what appeared to be a great night at Cherry Springs, PA, I could not see M33 through my big binos; I later suspected there was excessive moisture in the air. My first visit to The Stella Della Star Party was last fall. Their site is only 20-30 miles from the Philadelphia suburbs. It was right after a rain, and it looked like just “good “viewing. However, the DSO viewings through my 25 X 100 Apogees were great. M31’s full spiral filled the entire field of view. M27 gave the best 3D image I had ever seen.
Bottom line: Once you reach your apparent Messier limit with your binos, seek out dark sky sites, and keep returning until the sky conditions match the darkness.
Posted 04 July 2005 - 10:26 PM
Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:34 AM
I've looked at the "M" list since I was a kid, but never logged anything...until now...I'm retired. I sat outside in a lawn chair tonight after seeing the firework display in Nashville, and logged 14 entries. Of course these were the easy ones; mostly in Sagittarius. Cygnus is directly overhead late at night, but save M29 and M13 most of the Messier objects in that area are small and dim. I'll get 'em next time though, but probably not with what I had in hand tonight.
I suppose my rant bores you old sages. But, it's fun on this end.
Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:35 AM
The outstanding optics in the KOWA HighLander also help.
Posted 05 July 2005 - 02:07 AM
I've not seen m109 in any binocular.
I went back and reviewed my observing notes and noted that I did manage to catch M109 with my 25x100mm Binos on April 27th of this year with good seeing conditions. On the 16th (11 days earlier) I noted that I could not catch M109 but did catch TYC3833-781-1 (mag 9.6, 4' away) quite easily, so I may have just been lucky subsequently with an unusually dark sky (on the 16th, moon was at first Q). I did observe it without too much difficulty in the C9.25" on the 16th. Although I am in the East, the North GA skies where I am have a reputation of being some of the darkest in the Eastern US which helps. M109 is usually listed at Mag. 9.8, although I notice Starry Night pegs it at 10.6 which might be a bit more realistic given the difficulty in observing it. The glare of Phecda just 38' away is also an issue.
However, I'm also returning to astronomy after a nearly 35 year hiatus, and your comment has caused me to flag this observation for reconfirmation as I realize you have logged a lot more hours than I have in recent years and I want to be sure my notes are accurate!
Posted 05 July 2005 - 04:41 AM
I was going to post an account of sorts when I had some time about my recent viewing session.
I'm just so happy about it I can't resist mentioning it here:)
A few nights back I viewed with my BT 100 45 binocs at 25x NGC 6992(eastern half of Veil Nebula). The skys weren't the greatest and the light dome to the south of me has gotten worse!!!!!!!
It took a while to spot but that faint ghostly arc was one of the reasons I wanted 100mm binocs.
I've had no problem finding Messier objects as of yet, however that hasn't included M74/M109.
Think I'll have to give those a try when able.
Posted 05 July 2005 - 07:24 AM
It helps to have quite a bit of magnification to easily see many of the Messier objects.
Of the two parameters, magnification and aperature area, magnification is a greater contributor to increasing the LM. When I swtich my BT100 magnification from 25x to 43x, it's a whole new sky at times.
Posted 05 July 2005 - 08:20 AM
For a list of the Messier objects and a plan to view them, refer to the links to websites and access Stephen Tonkin's (CN member) Messier marathon Guide.
We could compile a list of NGCs since there are many that can be seen. You could spend a whole night just observing NGC's in Cassiopeia/Perseus area. Much of all these targets are here in the forums in bits and pieces. There are some links in the "Best Of" thread to Targets.
There are probably a lot of observing posts in this forum that are not tagged thru that link. If anybody finds good old posts that are not linked to ther Observing targets Best Of post, point them out and I'll add the link.