Home Next Meeting Join us! Night Sky notes & Blog Useful links Programme

Deep Night Sky Notes

by Rod

Spring is the time of year when lots of galaxies can be seen. Listed below are some of the brighter galaxies which can easily be seen in an 8" or larger aperture telescope; best seen when it is 'new moon' time, i.e. no moon in the sky.

  1. Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
    You may also see M32 and M110 (NGC 205) in the same field. Use low power, say 50 to 70.
  2. M81 and M82 in Ursa Major
    A beautiful, bright pair of galaxies in the same low power field, best at x50 to 70 to get them both.
  3. M65 and M66
    The brighter members of the Leo Triplet; the third member NGC 3628 may also be detected if the sky is really transparent.
  4. M51
    'The Whirlpool' galaxy in Canes Venatici (very near to 'Alkaid' star in the Plough). This is a bright 'starburst' galaxy caused by gravitational interaction with its neighbour. spiral arms can be seen only as a halo around its bright centre but in 16" or larger scopes two spiral arms can be detected.
  5. M106
    In 'Canes Venatici' is a bright slightly 'edge on' with a bright centre. (this can be seen in 10 x 50 binoculars).
  6. NGC 2903
    In Leo. It can be found just off the nose of the Lion, a little south of the star 'Alterf'! A bright centre with an elliptical halo.
  7. M104
    'The Sombrero'. This is very low in the sky on the border between 'Virgo' and 'Corvus'. A really bright edge on with a dark horizon band separately the bright centre. The Northern part much brighter than the Southern part.

Some less brighter ones that may also be seen:

These are some of many available.