I admit, I've never seen a galaxy in my telescope. Not for lack of trying. I have a 10" dob, but my front yard, where I observe, is pretty light-filthy. I live in Bortle 6 and have a streetlight over my head. Tonight it was quite clear, so I checked out the moon, Mars, Uranus (which was cool), resolved a couple of double stars, and then tried to find Bode's Galaxy. Andromeda is too high right now and I have zero view to the west. I have the charts in Turn Left at Orion, and a telrad, and I'm reasonably sure I was in the right part of the sky but.......I can't tell if I'm SEEING a galaxy or not.
Now, I have had lasik, and like I said, I have some pretty severe light pollution right over me. But really.... 'fess up. How do you find/recognize/see galaxies?? Are they really that hard?
My condolences! I, too, live in a Bortle 6 area and it is next to impossible to do any serious star gazing from my house. I suggest you give up stargazing under a streetlight and drive your scope to darker sites. Use light pollution maps like this one to find locations that have darker skies: cleardarksky.com/maps/lp/large_light_pollution_map.html
I used Google Maps satellitle view to scout out parks or other space that is open to the public at night.
Use this website to get a forecast of seeing conditions to avoid bad nights:
Then, you will still need to spend a couple of hours to research the locations of the objects you wish to find and print out some star charts you can then use to star hop to your target. Binoculars, a wide field, low power eyepiece and a medium to high power zoom eyepiece would all help. I have a 6 inch f/8.3 reflector and use a 40mm Plossl (31x, 1.22 deg. TFoV) and a 24-8mm (53-160x, 0.79-0.44 deg TFoV) Baader Zoom.
Here is what I do to generate my own star charts:
1. Go to this website, https://theskylive.com/
2. Click on Planets. Then planet of interest, then Information.
3. Copy location coordinates and paste them into the Virtual Telescope found at: fourmilab.ch/yoursky/ Then click on Aim Virtual Telescope.
4. Under the white-on-black star chart click on Color Scheme/ Black on White Background, then click Update.
5. Manipulate this black on white interactive chart to zoom in and set the max magnitude of stars to get views you need.
6. Right click on chart and select Save Image, then paste it into a Word Doc and print it….OR…
7. Right click on chart and select Copy Image, then open WORD doc. and “Paste Picture”, then resize and print it.
Once I print it I calculate what fields of view my eyepieces have and draw circles on the maps to show me how to approach the target. See attached Neptune star chart.
It's surprising to find that our eyepieces only show very small sections of sky. All this homework will save you a lot of time and frustration once you are out in the field.
Edited by John J. Hudak, 22 January 2021 - 03:50 PM.