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Posted by Glenn Muller on April 3, 2002 19:58:13 UTC

Hi Matt;

Our backyard is subject to moderate light pollution but we can still still quite a lot.
The 2 galaxies can best be described as 2 faint areas of cigar ash on a velvet background, though there is a little more visual substance to them than, say, the Owl or Crab Nebulas (ash as opposed to smoke). In fact, if you can look in a copy of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickenson and Alan Dyer (highly recommended) there is a page of eyepiece sketches that are close to what you can expect. With M81/82, you can see the one has a roundish, circular shape while the other is more cigar shaped, and I find it is possible to tease out a bit more definition when I apply averted vision (your mileage may vary). What I mostly like is that you can get them in the same FOV, even with an EP of 50 or 52 degrees (25mm).
As far as M31 is concerned, I haven't yet had it in the scope but was under the impression it was a wide galaxy that wouldn't fit in your average FOV (?). I'm looking forward to checking the DSO's out this summer from our vacation spot "up north".
Anyway, I'd be interested to read your impressions after you get some clear skies.


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