Saturday, 22 September 2012

M33



M33 / NGC598 / Triangulum galaxy
Constellation - Triangulum
Spiral galaxy
Distance - 2.3 million Ly
Mag - 6.2

Date - 22/9/12
Seeing - Antoniadi II
SQM - 21.20 (NELM 6.2)

Telescope - 12" f/5
EP - 17.3mm Delos x88 TFoV 0˚49

Sketch notes
An easy find in both 10x50 binos and the scope.
At first sight I couldnt pick out any detail just an oval smudge which wasnt very bright at all. Swapping between low and medium power EP's really helped to show just how big the galaxy is. Although a low power EP (x59) made the galaxy appear brighter I wasnt able to see the spiral arms until I slightly increased the magnification up to x88 and after a while of using averted vision two main spiral arms appeared branching out pointing NW to SW. After a while longer I started to notice a slight mottling effect in the arms and also a faint suggestion of smaller arms each side of the main ones. Averted vision also brought out faint stars within the galaxy which would pop out only to dissapear agin with direct vision.
Although we had fairly dark skies at the zenith Plymouths skyglow to the East probably didnt help viewing this and M74 but I am quite happy that I managed to get this amount of detail. I found it similar to the Whirlpool galaxy where you had to put a bit of 'work' into it to eventually see any detail.
A definate must see when observing under dark skies.

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