How to find M109

Messier 109


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 More >

Messier 31, The Andromeda Galaxy

An Hour of Andromeda


I don’t know why this Galaxy seems so difficult a target for me. When I first started to image it with my CPC 1100, I ended up with big piles of the core — since the apparent size is way larger than the field of view on the CPC. Once I realized just how large it was, I remember pulling it up in binoculars and thinking “Woah!”

Since then, I’ve tried imaging it on numerous occasions, but never seem to be able to get quite the excitement or brilliance that others seems to be able to pull from More >

M82, The Cigar Galaxy

M82, M33 – AltAz Imaging at f/10!


The past few nights here in Woodinville have been really quite nice. And I’m not just saying that because our week of summer is going to end soon, but rather the air has been clean, calm, warm, and most important: dark. Very dark. Now, it’s really quite odd that some of the best times to do astronomy here you get the fewest number of hours to do it — it’s not “dark enough” until around 11pm, and there is an eerie brightness that begins to creep up to the east around 3.30am. But that’s still More >

M64, The Black Eye Galaxy

M64, The Black Eye Galaxy


For whatever reason, hitting some of the famous DSO’s proves to be more challenging than I expect. This is 165 seconds of exposure time on the CPC 1100 with f/6.3 reducer up, from data gathered on June 26th. Each raw image here barely looked like much; I had to use a fairly aggressive Unsharpen to bring out some contrast, followed by Gaussian Blur to kill off the pixelation. Again, given the overall poor conditions of the night I was pretty pleased with how this ended up.

M64, The Black Eye

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M101, Pinwheel Galaxy

M101, The Pinwheel Galaxy


I once spent hours with my 12″ Meade LX 200 trying to visually spot this galaxy. Located near the Big Dipper, I thought for sure I would be able to find it since all the pictures I had seen were always so big and detailed. Freezing cold, and still with no sightings, I packed up and came back inside pondering what I was doing wrong. Of course, what I did wrong was expect to find a big vibrant picture of “obviously there it is”. Visually this galaxy is extremely boring and looks like nothing More >

NGC4435, Markarian's Chain

Accidental Markarian’s Chain!


I’d spent some of the night looking around in Coma for various galaxies to image with wide fields and slowly drifted down into Virgo. Lo and behold, trying to hit up NGC 4435 landed me a nice bit of Markarian’s Chain! What a pleasant surprise…

Piece o' Markarian's Chain


Late night Andromeda


For the longest time I have always wondered why this is so difficult to image. After a few hours fiddling around with Maxim DL’s filters, I was finally able to get this image which at least is halfway decent.  Image from Televue NP101is on Celestron CGEM

Messier 31, M31, Andromeda Galaxy

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