Re: (IAAC) galaxies (LONG)

Hi, Harold, and thanks a lot for the note! I know others will have many good 
suggestions for you, but here's my $0.02.
Well, as for what galaxies you can see with a 10" scope this time of year, 
there are TONS!! Or there are almost none, depending... :)
On a moonless, truly clear night from a very dark site (say at least 10 miles 
from any town, with no streetlights in the near vicinity), you will be able 
(with time) to see literally THOUSANDS of galaxies in a 10" scope. And of 
course, your first view of the Andromeda Galaxy from a REALLY dark site will 
probably stay in your memory forever!
But as you can tell from reading the posts on our list, what details you see in 
any one galaxy will depend as much on YOU as on your scope and site. "Training 
your eye to see" is really the toughest (and best!) part of deep-sky astronomy. 
Learning to cultivate and preserve night vision, mastering techniques like 
averted vision, concentrated vision, deep breathing, "scope jiggling", etc., or 
even just learning what to look for in each object make a BIG difference as to 
how rich your observation logs are. Of course, some objects will still be too 
faint for you to say anything but "saw it". But then bagging these "faint 
fuzzies" can be a lot of fun too... :)
Probably the best suggestion is to find others who have done deep-sky observing 
for a while, and observe with them! Local astronomy clubs can always hook you 
up with your fellow amateurs, and some of them are bound to have good advice on 
the best sites, tools and techniques for deep-sky.
Now sometimes, of course, finding and getting to know these wizened experts can 
be tough: that's where 'netastrocatalog' comes in! ;>
Finally, my personal advice on published galaxy magnitudes is: ignore them! 
Some galaxies will be listed as mag. 14, and still look like intriguing little 
blobs in your 10", while others will be listed at mag. 11, and be barely 
visible. The only way to know whether you can see a certain object (aside from 
asking a fellow amateur or reading this list), is to TRY it! At first, this 
will be frustrating, as you spend minutes looking for objects that you really 
just can't see. But you'll find more and more as you learn. And of course you 
can always sprinkle some "chestnuts" in with the faint-object challenges!
OK, to finally answer your question, here are some objects this month which I 
personally think will look great in a 10" at a dark site:
M81/82/NGC3077, M106, NGC2903, M65/66/NGC3628, M95/96/105/NGC3384, M60, M60, 
M59, M58, M104, the entire "Markarian Chain" of NGCs and Messiers at the center 
of the Virgo Cluster, M94, M63, ... And of course, that's just the GALAXIES!
M31/32/110 is quickly disappearing, as is the (usually challenging!) M33 in 
Triangulum. But M33 from a dark, dark site is indescribable! So are M101 in 
Ursa Major and M51 in Canes Venatici, which are RISING in the evenings now... 
But again, the shear inky DARKNESS of the site (plus your self training) will 
determine whether these face-on galaxies turn out to be "ain't-nos", or 
breathtaking beauties in the eyepiece.
To find all these wonders, ask your fellow amateurs, and/or get some good sky 
charts. (You can always post a query here as to which ones we all like).
Good luck, have fun, and be sure to share what you see with us!
Lew, heading off to see the Shuttle launch tonight!