Re: (IAAC) Obj: M74 (NGC 628) - Inst: 8" f/6 Dobsonian

"Mark G Birkmann (via Lew Gramer)" wrote:

> Thanks for some more great observations!  Your observation of m 74 is
> especially impressive.  This was a difficult object even with the 40"
> f/5. A search of the IAAC site reveals several negative reports.
> However, under excellent skies Lew Gramer reported 3 spiral arms with
> a 20".  If memory serves I believe Rich Jakiel reported elsewhere seeing
> several spiral arms as well as numerous HII regions, also with a 20".
> One of these days I'm going to have to make a trip out west to see what
> mag 7 skies really look like! Here in Missouri we rarely get much better
> than 6.  The best I've ever recorded at my observing site is 6.4.
> Clear, transparent, and steady skies,
> Mark

M74 was the hardest of the Messier objects for me to log when I was working on
the AL Messier Club.  I finally located it, after many attempts, with a 12.5"
f/6.5 Cave Newtonian.  Since then I have observed it a number of times using 17"
f/15 and 20" f/10 classical Cassegrains and have never been very impressed with
what I saw, but that was from a moderately light polluted site and from a
somewhat better one (NELM close to 6.0, perhaps, at the zenith).  However, in
article on Messier "surveys" appearing in the March 2001 Sky & Telescope the
redoubtable Jay Reynolds Freeman lists M76, an object that I've never had any
problems seeing, as the most difficult IIRC.  Keep in mind that some of his many
surveys were with binoculars.

Dave Mitsky

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