After many delays, tonight was the night I finally got around to M108. My gosh, I thought it was brighter than that (around 22 magnitudes/arc second^2), I seem to remember, anyway. Ever sit down to a dim object and wonder how you're gonna see anything at all? I do it a lot, this was one of those objects. But, it was well placed near the meridian, the sky was clear, so tonight is the night. I had been by it so many times, I remembered how to star hop to it. And there it was, in all it's dimness at 67x.
Okay, so the first thing is to crank it up a bit and see what's going on. I toyed between 100x and 120x, and just found 120x was too dim. It's best seen, to my eye, and the image more productive at 100x. Still, it was not as easy as I hoped. It definitely has a nice cigar shape. There is a nice star right near the center, that was easily seen. It's not the stellar core, images show this to be a foreground star (a few other faint star embedded that I didn't see). In fact, it hardly has a bright core at all. Now, I did get a couple of glimpses of a brighter streak running through it's long axis. The "streak" was more extended east of that central foreground star, kind of stubby to the west.
The presence of it's dust lane was pretty easy to detect. No question where it was along the southern edge. The cigar shape did have a very slight mottling to it, hard to make sense of it. But, over time, it did appear to be brighter on both ends, a very slight and fleeting increase in brightness. This gave the impression of darker areas cutting across the cigar shape. One to the east was more reliable, anything to the west was less certain. Only that the western ansae had a small (barely) brighter area, and maybe even a field star, one could make out from time to time.
However, I did kind of see the more prominent dust lane appear to "reach" into the cigar shape just west of the embedded field star. One time I caught a good look at it, other impressions were more vague. I was not sure what to make of it, but verifying the feature against an image shows the dust lane does kind of dip toward the embedded star. That's always exciting to confirm something that is difficult to pin down but you know you are seeing something happening. So, after an hour or so, I guess I was seeing all I can make of Messier 108.
So, I hit Messier 106 and thought about sketching it. Then remembered the 8 Burst Nebula was up, so I slewed over to it before it got any lower. I just did not feel like settling in for another long observing session and it was getting late. So, it was time to pack it in with my primary object for the evening. I'll save both for another night. Thanks for looking.
Edit: Added a very faint star to the south I forgot to include. I use the faintest star(s) I see to estimate limiting magnitude. No idea how faint it was.
Edited by Asbytec, 29 February 2020 - 02:36 PM.