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(IAAC) Obj: M74 - Inst: 20" f/5 dob newt



Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-07-31/08-01, 07:00 UT
Location: Savoy, MA, USA (42N, elev 700m)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 7.2 (zenith)
Seeing: 7 of 10 - pretty good, intermittent haze
Moon up: no
Instrument: 20" f/5 Tectron truss-tube dob Newtonian reflector
Magnification: 70x, 210x
Filters used: None
Object: M74
Category: Spiral galaxy [SA(s)c I]
Constellation: Psc
Data: mag 9.4 size 11'x10'
RA/DE: 15h37m  +15o47m
Description:
A quick shot to eta Psc, which is the star pointed to by and SW
of alpha and beta Ari, then swing from eta NE 1.5o and you will
find this BRIGHT, beautiful spiral galaxy in a near-empty field!
This morning, with what appeared to be zodiacal light brightening
at the horizon, M74 showed no less than THREE well-defined spiral
arms, with two especially stark right near its core. It showed
a very bright core, but with no hint of a stellar nucleus. There
were several intriguing bifurcations in the spiral arms, but as
I lacked time to apply higher powers, and considering M74's low
altitude, a description of these will have to wait until some
future observation, hopefully this Fall!