How to find M109

How to find M109


Messier 109 is a beautiful spiral bar galaxy in Ursa Major. It’s generally considered the last “real” messier object (M110 is a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy, and wasn’t really included in Messier’s catalogue). Somewhat small at just over 7 square arc minutes in apparent size, longer focal lengths should be useful for detail. With a magnitude of 9.8, it is possible to see visually as a “fuzzy star”. I wasn’t able to even make out any of the “bar” portion, but moderate seeing conditions were almost certainly the culprit.

Locating M109 is not too difficult. Locate the ‘big dipper’ portion of Ursa Major. Draw the line connecting Merak to Phad (the bottom of the cup) and continue on slightly past Phad in the same direction. It’s not too far away at all!

These images were all gathered on January 3, 2011 with the Celestron CPC 1100 mounted on the new HD Pro Wedge. Autoguiding was done with the Orion Starshoot Autoguider on the Orion ST80. Even at f/10, I was able to get fairly round stars with 300 second exposures. However, this image is an amalgamation of 120s and 300s exposures for a total of 32 minutes. Heavy processing here was done in MaximDL and Nebulosity. The spiral arms are pretty obvious, but it seemed the bar is much easier to see in the negative, right below. However, it is clear this image would benefit from better skies and a lot more exposure time.

Messier 109

Messier 109, CPC 1100 f/10

Messier 109

Messier 109, colors inverted

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