Galaxies that can be seen with the naked eye

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy" [Broken]

At an apparent magnitude of 4.4, the Andromeda Galaxy is notable for being one of the brightest Messier objects,[10] making it easily visible to the naked eye even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum_Galaxy" [Broken]
The Triangulum Galaxy can be seen with the naked eye under exceptionally good conditions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_81" [Broken]

Messier 81 and Messier 82 can both be viewed easily using binoculars and small telescopes.[21][6] The two objects are generally not observable to the unaided eye, although highly experienced amateur astronomers may be able to see Messier 81 under exceptional observing conditions.[6]

I've only seen M31 with the naked eye. If I look at M33 through my 8 times 40 bino, then it doesn't look like something I could ever see with the naked eye.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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Key to M33 being "exceptionally good" conditions. When I was in the Navy, I saw M31 with the naked eye, but even under perfect conditions (for sea level, which is complete sky transparency and complete darkness), I could not see M33. For M33, you probably have to be isolated and on a mountain.
 
  • #3
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Likewise - in the Navy, M31 was easy. M33 took binoculars.
 
  • #4
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http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky/3304011.html" [Broken]

I guess I would have to rate the skies here at class 5 to 6 :grumpy:
 
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  • #5
George Jones
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy" [Broken]
I can see this from the street in front of my apartment building, streetlights notwithstanding.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulum_Galaxy" [Broken]
Nope.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_81" [Broken]
Nope. Saw this with my 15 x 70 binos a few weeks ago.
 
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  • #6
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Perhaps I should try to see M33 when it is close to the Zenith. So, perhaps late in the Summer or early in the Autumn around 3 am when it both high in the sky and there aren't many lights in the neighborhood.

I know it looks faint when I look at with with my binos but then I usually look at it when it isn't that high above the horizon.
 
  • #7
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http://www.maa.clell.de/Messier/E/Xtra/Supp/m81naked.txt" [Broken]

Since then, http://www.maa.clell.de/Messier/E/m081.html" [Broken]

Brian Skiff of Lowell Observatory reports that he could see M81 with the unaided naked eye under exceptionally good viewing conditions (i.e., clear dark skies), and is at least the fourth observer who reported to have done so ! Dan Gerhards reports that at the Oregon Star Party of 2006, another two observers have managed to spot it, and knows of a third amateur who claims to have seen it, bringing the total to at least seven observers.
 
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  • #8
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You all are obviously in the North. What about the Magellanic Clouds? These dwarf galaxies are very bright in the southern skies.
 
  • #9
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There's also a southern hemisphere? Who knew? :wink:
 
  • #10
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Forgive me if this is a silly question, but how do you know where to look? (Same holds for the other planets in our solar system, I can never find them/distinguish between them and stars).
 
  • #11
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You need to look at a star chart first. Does this pattern of stars look familiar:
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  • #12
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You need to look at a star chart first. Does this pattern of stars look familiar:
Big Dipper?

(Oh, I probably also need to mention that I'm in the Southern Hemisphere :redface: )
 
  • #13
turbo
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Forgive me if this is a silly question, but how do you know where to look? (Same holds for the other planets in our solar system, I can never find them/distinguish between them and stars).
Stars are all apparent point-sources to us, due to their distance, so they "twinkle", especially when the atmosphere is unstable (called "poor seeing"). In contrast, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn (the brighter, easier-to-find planets) will look quite steady compared to the stars.
 
  • #14
jim mcnamara
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M31 no problem.

M33 only at 13100 ft elevation Truchas Peak NM - above ~40% of the atmosphere at that elevation. And it was faint. Binoculars work fine down at lower elevations. So Russ is probably right - isolated and way up there.

This is a cool graphic: Messier objects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Messier.all.750pix.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #15
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Stars are all apparent point-sources to us, due to their distance, so they "twinkle", especially when the atmosphere is unstable (called "poor seeing"). In contrast, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn (the brighter, easier-to-find planets) will look quite steady compared to the stars.
Cheers for that turbo-1, that will definitely make it easier.
 
  • #16
ideasrule
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"Forgive me if this is a silly question, but how do you know where to look?"

When I have to find a galaxy, I use a star chart. It's not hard at all after you learn a few asterisms/constellations, like the Big Dipper, or Gemini. For the planets, it's usually very obvious which one's which; the stupendously, unbelievably bright one is always Venus, the red one is Mars, the yellowish one is either Jupiter or Saturn (I remember where in the sky each one is). Mercury is hard to see if you're not looking for it, and the other planets can't be seen without a telescope.
 

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