An Urban Messier Report!

By Tony Flanders
Cambridge, MA

Member of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston

"Here are my notes for M1 through M45
as seen from Danehy Park
4.5 miles from the center of Boston through my 7" Starmaster
Oak Classic Dob (Starm), my 70mm F/6.9 Televue Ranger refractor
(Ranger), my 7x35 Nikon binocular (Binos), and naked-eye (Nake).

I could typically see stars down to mag 4.5 or 4.6 in the
evening, and 4.7 or 4.8 in the early AM.  The Double Cluster
was the only DSO consistently visible naked-eye (besides M45),
and I made out the Milky Way thru Cygnus once -- barely.

Eyepieces used were the 35mm Rini widefield (28X in Starm),
30mm Celestron Ultima (32X in Starm and 16X in Ranger), and
Vixen Lanthanum 8-24mm zoom (40-120X in Starm, 20-60X in Ranger).
I also used a Lumicon UHC filter on a number of objects.

I have tried to expand the most arcane abbreviations in my notes,
but many remain -- mostly obvious, I hope.  Here are a few that
might need explication:

* - star or stars
a/v - averted vision
d/v - direct vision
res - resolve, resolved
conc - concentrated
ufrm - uniform
f - faint
br - bright
v- very
obv - obvious

M1-M45 constitute Messier's first collection, and in general,
they are much easier to see than the later ones.  The early
list is also weighted towards the kinds of objects that are
hurt least by light pollution, namely open clusters and
(to a lesser extent) globular clusters.  Note that out of
the total 32 open clusters and nebulous open clusters, 24
are in the first 45 objects.  By contrast, only 3 out of the
39 galaxies are in the first 45.

Unfortunately for anybody attempting the list in numerical
order, M1 happens to be one of the hardest of the first 45.

None of these objects was particularly hard in the 7" Dob,
and I only failed to see two of them in the 70mm refractor,
namely M20 and M26.  M20 was a failure because it is fairly
faint, and also at a far southern declination, so that it is
always buried way down in the light pollution that cloaks
the horizon in any urban or suburban area.  M26 is a more
subtle kind of failure.  All of the open clusters were
relatively easy in the 7" Dob, because it had enough oomph
to resolve their brighter stars, even through heavy light
pollution.  Many of the clusters were resolved just fine in
the 70mm refractor too, but there were a fair number that
failed to resolve -- and a much larger number that failed
to resolve in the 7X35 binocular.  However, many of these
were visible anyway, as diffuse clouds of light.  But M26
is both too faint to resolve and also has surface brightness
too low to form a visible cloud against a brightly-lit sky.
M38 has similar problems; I have always found this the hardest
to see of the trio in Auriga through small instruments, at
low powers, and against lit-up skies.

I cannot emphasize too much how sensitive many of these objects
are to light pollution.  Danehy Park is right on the edge, where
all or almost all of the Messier objects are possible, but many
are very difficult.  I have not explored this seriously, but I
am sure that even a modest increase in sky brightness would
make many of the objects flat-out impossible -- for me, anyway.
Conversely, I have done some observing from the Audubon Sanctuary
in Belmont, a mere 2.5 miles farther from Boston than Danehy Park.
That 2.5 miles buys an extra 0.3 or so in naked-eye stellar
limiting magnitude, which may not sound like much.  But it is!
The Milky Way is readily visible to the naked eye, and objects
that are barely visible through a telescope under Danehy's
4.7 skies become quite obvious in Belmont's mag 5.0 skies.

It is also hard to emphasize too much how badly objects
are hurt when they are close to the horizon.  The effect
is bad enough even under dark skies, but under heavy light
pollution, low altitude hits you with a triple whammy.
First, normal extinction, just as under dark skies.  Second,
the light pollution becomes dramatically worse as you look
through an increasing distance of light-soaked air.  Finally,
low altitude prevents the use of high power, which is the
number-one weapon against light pollution.


M1
  Starm: Vague @28X, elusive but vis d/v 40X.  Shapeless
    cloud ~4' across.  Still vis a/v down to ~80X, but
    best at medium powers.
  Ranger: @40X a/v frly lge squarish block of light, not too hard.
M2
  Starm: @120X grainy but not res except * W of ctr, prob fld star.
    Otherwise same as ranger, concentrated gently towards ctr.
  Ranger: @60X br circ ~3' with brter core about 1.5'.
  Binos: Tiny fuzzy patch.
M3
  Starm: @120X 1 * consis res in halo a/v, halo grainy, hint many
    * nr res a/v, pretty.
  Ranger: Bright fuzzball brter in ctr than edges.
  Binos: Small but br, obvious.
M4
  Starm: Quite difficult, barely vis @28X, slightly bolder @40X.
    Faint, ragged ethereal cloud.  Fascinating @120X, where
    numerous * appear a/v out of barely visible cloud.
  Ranger: Barely vis, best ~40X.
M5
  Starm: v br, striking @40X.  @120X lovely, 6' rslv several *
    easily a/v, dozens more peering thru gently.
  Ranger: Bright and obvious, not spectacular.
  Binos: Readily vis, frly br fuzzball.
M6
  Starm and Ranger: well res at lowest power, richer than M7.
  Binos: Did not try too hard, but could not positively id.
M7
  Starm and Ranger: lovely, fully res at lowest power.
  Binos: Pretty well res a/v, lovely.
  Nake: Cannot see M7, but whole hook of Sco vis, wonderful.
M8
  Starm: Cluster v obvious, glimpses of nebulosity w/o filter,
    esp SW of 9 Sag.  With UHC filter, cluster subdued and neb
    brought out v strongly, esp br patch SW of 9 Sag, then
    arcing thru cluster, clear and obv gap between cluster
    and 2 * incl 9 Sag.  2nd strongest conc SW of cluster,
    cluster + neb neatly parallel 9 Sag + neb.
  Ranger: @20X nice dbl * W, cluster 4 * v obv, perh 4 more a/v.
    @60X cluster ~12*, also 2 pr obv * floating S of cluster.
    Faint hint neb @60X w/o filter.  UHC kills cluster almost
    completely, neb comes out clearly, esp SW of 9 Sag and thru pr.
  Binos: Cluster obvious, no nebulosity.
M9
  Starm: 1.5', mod f, mod conc.
  Ranger: v f smudge 1' a/v ptlk ctr, same all pow 16X-60X.
M10
  Starm: lovely, 4' evenly br, stardust a/v, >8 * hard to pin down.
  Ranger: frly easy, equally good all pow 16X-60X, featureless blob
    3.5' roughly even brt all across.
M11
  Starm: Utterly lovely at all powers.  @32X fan shape of light off
    br *, few * poking through a/v.  @120X res huge number of *.
  Ranger: Fuzzy patch, only br * showing, possibly grainy.
  Binos: Very obvious br fuzzy patch.
M12
  Starm: Extremely f in @28X, @120X f, diffuse but quite pretty,
    >= 7 * stars poke out a/v.
  Ranger: Faint d/v, not easy, featureless smudge.
M13
  Starm: @120X magnificent, 3' br core fading to >6' halo, grainy
    d/v w a few * in halo, >20 * in and out a/v.
  Ranger: 3.5', moderately conc to 2' core, br.
  Binos: Clearly extended br fuzz spot.
M14
  Starm: Elusive a/v, but also d/v, not conc, v lge, 5'.
  Ranger: Faint a/v @60X, lge, 4'.
M15
  Starm: @120X seems brter than M2, also seems to be slightly
    truncated on E.
  Ranger: @60X 3' circle.
  Binos: Tiny fuzzy patch just of br-ish *.
M16
  Starm: Well res @120X, sense arc sweeping up NE around * at
    N end.  Definitely no neb w/o UHC.  UHC fills tiny cluster
    at N end w neb w/o losing too many *, quite pretty.
  Ranger: Stands out moderately well @20X and @60X.  UHC brings
    out neb but loses almost all *, big disappointment.
  Binos: Very obvious cloud, no res.
M17
  Starm: Neb readily vis w/o UHC @28X and all higher powers.
    Elliptical patch 6x2 EW, brtest W.  Genuinely striking w
    UHC all pow, more cond, checkmark pointing S vis on W end.
  Ranger: Neb readily vis w/o UHC, much more striking w UHC,
    but UHC kills so many * that overall view suffers.
    Checkmark obvious W end, esp w UHC.
  Binos: Vague cloud just SE of mag 5 * a/v.
M18
  Starm: Best @60X, stands out OK, not great, well res, 6 * in
    tngl plus tail of 3 * to SW makes arrow 5' long pointing NE.
  Ranger: Stands out poorly @60X, 5 * in tngl pointing NE,
    1 in and out a/v.
  Binos: Tried and failed.
M19
  Starm: Easy a/v, just d/v, 2', mod conc.
  Ranger: Very f smudge a/v 3'.
M20
  Starm: Hint neb, poss imagined w UHC @40X and @60X, also
    imagined w/o UHC.  Other than that, not much there.
    M20 is S end of odd cross-like asterism.
  Ranger: No hint of neb or cluster at this location.
M21
  Starm: @40X 8 br cluster memb, roughly equilat tngl WNW,
    2 pr close * pointing EW on S ctr side, including much
    the brightest *, then arrow of 3 * pointing inward ESE.
    @120X perh ~6 more * poke thru a/v, whole 5x2 PA 90.
  Ranger: Res ~6*, not well defined or obv.
M22
  Starm: Very obv all pow, @120X ~5' across res 2 * d/v, several
    more clear a/v, many glimmering through a/v.
  Ranger: Quite obv all pow, frly ufrm, mod conc towards ctr, 4-5'.
  Binos: Vis but not v easy, big but f.
M23
  Starm: Stands out nicely @28X, just SE of br-ish * [mag 6.5].
    Overfills fld @120X, best view @40X, >35 *.
  Ranger: Just vis @16X, nice @60X, >20*, more in and out a/v.
  Binos: Cannot see.
M24
  Starm: Obv @28X as patch of * suddenly much more dense, esp
    coming up from S, ~1.5 deg EW by ~3.5 deg NS (note this is
    much bigger than charted.)
  Ranger: Discrete collection of * like very sparse cluster all
    fitting in 3-deg fld @16X.
  Binos: Nice lozenge, res several *.
M25
  Starm: Best view @60X, higher loses cluster appearance.  Quite
    nice even @28X, most striking is tight cluster of 10* 5x2 nr ctr,
    also line of 6* 6' long just S of that, including nice wide dbl.
  Ranger: 6* in ctr cluster, 3 * in line to S.
M26
  Starm: Hard to find, hard to see, seems sparse at 10' generously.
    Dominated by diamond of 4 in ctr, sketched fifth in there plus
    4 more NE, plus 2 more br.
  Ranger: Hopeless, only brtest * showing, no sign of cluster.
M27
  Starm: Very obv fuzzball @28X.  Obv elongated rectangle ~1.5
    times longer than wide, strong suggestion apple shape even
    without UHC, more w UHC.  Not much to choose bet filter and
    not.  Different each pow, too dim @120X w UHC, 80X poss best.
  Ranger: Clearest @60X, also vis @20X, obv but no detail.  UHC
    brings out more clearly, hint of apple shape.
  Binos: V dfclt if at all.
M28
  Starm: Obv all pow, little f @120X, quite small (1.5-2') no res,
    strongly conc towards ctr.
  Ranger: Not hard but not at all prominent, maybe a/v.
M29
  Starm: Pick up easily in @28X, tiny and cute.  8 * in 6'
    circle, plus maybe 2 outliers 6' E of ctr.  Dominant shape is
    6 mod br * [8.6-9.3] in two arcs NS facing away from each other.
    2 fnter * [10.2 S, 10.5 N] directly N of innermost star E arc.
  Ranger: Pick up but tricky @16X because * not v br, also tiny.
    @60X 6 * easy, just barely make out extra 2 *.
M30
  Starm: Very br 0.5' core in br 2' halo, hint grainy, nice.
  Ranger: Moderately obv @16X, br crc 2' @60X, not much detail
M31
  Starm: Stellar nucleus, br core ~10', poss slightly ellip,
    plus f extension roughly same size as core to SSW.
  Ranger: Small, v br oval 5'x4', no hint of halo.
  Binos: Very obvious small fuzzy patch.
  Nake: Pretty sure I can see it, nu And easy.
M32
  Starm and Ranger: V obvious medium-high power, tiny starlike
    point, v br.
M33
  Starm: Large glow no clear edges hard to see at first @32X,
    getting more undoubtable as look more.  Pretty obv @40X,
    br patch 10x8 PA 0.  NGC 604 obvious tiny fuzz far from core.
  Ranger: @20X reasonably vis, 10x8 PA 0 as in starm.
M34
  Starm: More lovely than in Ranger, stars stand out better but
    probably no more of them.
  Ranger: Stands out poorly, lovely br close pr * in arc nr ctr.
  Binos: Judge f smudge, not res on casual glance.
M35
  Starm: @40X 20x30, apple core with two bites taken out, quite
    rich, >40*; @60X more f * not so well framed.
  Ranger: Shocking contrast to Starm, @20X didn't recognize when
    sitting right on it, *s pop out a/v, better view @40X - 60X,
    ~24*, not well def.
  Binos: Surprisingly hard, 2 * plus very vague patch light.
M36
  Starm:  @40X ~12 br * plus perh 18 f *s in shape of arrowhead
    10' on side plus stubby extension L and lge 15' crab claw R.
  Ranger: best @60X sim to Dob, 12 br * quite clear incl nice dbl,
    f *s become nebulosity along arms
  Binos: Tight, clear, well def, not res.
M37
  Starm: @28X glorious, 3* clrly res, more a/v in lge strong cloud,
    best @60X Xmas tree, v beautiful, 20x15 star-spangled.
  Ranger: @20X diffuse cloud perh 1 *, @60X pulls apart into
    darkness, 3* easy, dozens peeking out a/v, lovely.
  Binos: Larger than M36, fuzz patch not so br, not so well def.
M38
  Starm: @40X frly nice, characteristic X or T shape, bottom of
    T being curved, 2 br * off one arm of T, res ~24*, worse
    higher power, quite hard @28X.
  Ranger: Quite hard, alm invis @20X and lower, just coming in @40X,
    better @60X, lines of X traced in neb, few stars coming thru.
  Binos: Twice size of M36, v faint brightening of bkgd.
M39
  Starm: Stands out pr well @28X Rini, large, bright, and coarse.
    ~12 * beyond bkgd over 30' crcl, mostly mag 6-9.
  Ranger: Likewise, fnter stars @60X but framed best @30X and lower.
M40
  Starm: Readily vis, easily split @28X.
  Ranger: Possibly split, certainly vis @16X, illusion nebulous.
    Stars f, see one lose the other, pretty obv a/v @40X.
M41
  Starm: Best view @28X, framing not so good as in Ranger,
    sky bkgd not so dark, fnt *s brought out v strongly,
    losing sense of mystery, ~24 *.
  Ranger: Nice view @20X, framed perfectly.  About 24 *, many
    near ctr just at edge of visibility.  @30X sky bkgd darker,
    more attractive but framing getting lost.
  Binos: Similar to M35, vague cloud res 2-3 *.
M42/M43
  Starm: Magnificent @120X, E batwing f a/v, stretching almost
     to br * 15' SE of the1-Ori.  Much detail around mouth,
     Trapezium gorgeous (better @40X), whole extremely luminous.
     Nice mottling on N side of neb.  UHC not much help.
     M43 vis as vague smear light, unremarkable.
  Ranger: OK @16X, wings completely gone, just part around "mouth"
    left.  Crisper with UHC, and M43 appeared as far disjoint cloud
    around Nu Ori.  Much prettier view @53X, better than 16X w UHC.
    53X w UHC too dark, no better than w/o.  Gorgeous, but not
    remotely comparable to view in starm,  batwing completely
    missing, less detail around mouth.
M44
  Starm: @28X still nice but not as well framed as 16X in ranger.
    Extra aperture brings out a few more f stars, but not enough
    to be interesting.
  Ranger: @16X very pretty, perfectly framed, ~30 *.  Pentangle seen
    in binos resolves as 2 single *, 1 closish pair and two triples --
    cute!  Nice because whole cluster hierarchical, loose framework
    dominated by pairs, triples, and chains.
  Binos: Very pretty, 9-10 * readily vis, 2 close together, sense
    more just at edge of vis, dominated by striking pentangle
    (rhombus w hat) SE of ctr.
  Nake: To my surprise, popped out unmistakably a/v.  Also saw
    gam-Cnc (mag 4.6, not too hard) nearby.
M45
  Starm and Ranger:  Fully res both instruments, framed OK at
    28X in starm.  Note lovely asterism 4 * nr ctr.
  Binos: Magnificent, well res.
  Nake: 5 * pr easy, 6th with some effort.

Here are my notes for Messier objects M46 - M110

, excluding M102, which I don't believe in.
This collection includes many galaxies,
and in all but a few cases all that I saw was the cores.  It is
striking that for certain objects, notably M110, where surface
brightness is a severe problem but total brightness is not,
the views were essentially identical in 70mm and 7" scopes.
For most galaxies, however, absolute brightness was a problem
as well, and these were generally invisible in the little
refractor.

The failure, or extreme difficulty, with M68 was totally
unexpected.  Without a doubt, this would have been a fairly
easy object if it were not so low in the sky -- 21 degrees
at its highest.  It is sobering to compare my failure, or
near-failure, using the 7" Dob under urban light pollution
with my notes for M68 using my 10X50 binocular under
reasonably dark (though far from pristine) skies:  "Readily
visible as a faint smudge."  That is with 30% of the aperture,
and a magnification much farther from optimal!

My success on M83 was almost as surprising, because this
galaxy is even lower (18 degrees off the horizon), and face-on
spirals have notoriously low surface brightness.  But I had
forgotten that M83 has a particularly bright and concentrated
core, which shone through the light pollution with no trouble.

M46
  Starm: @120X alm fills fld, have to pan around to see how much
    richer than bkgd (very).  Several dozen * all pr f except 2 br,
    many more lurking, nice.
  Ranger: @60X just beginning to come in, 2 br * to side plus many
    *s peeking thru vaguely a/v, hazy brightness 15' crc.
M47
  Starm: @28X little more impressive than in ranger, @40X v well res
    40* 20x40, hard to say where stops.
  Ranger: Best @30X, ~20*, big, br, sparse, A shaped.
  Binos: Frly easy, make out few *s all little too close for res.
M48
  Starm: @28X ~30' loose but shapely 16 * easily vis, interesting Y
    or gamma formation as seen inverted 10' long just E of ctr,
    with br * E of that not obv part of cluster.  @40X suddenly
    see in whole new light, eq tngl 40' on side with Y in middle,
    40 easy *, still more poking out at edge of vis, yet some
    quite br, very nice effect.  Extra stars at higher powers but
    beginning to top out @80X.
  Ranger: @16X readily vis but not so pretty, ~10 *, sky bkgd too
    bright.  @20X sim to view starm @28X, v pretty, lots of * at
    edge of vis, Y shows 6-7 * plus 3-4 more elsewhere.  Quite
    nice @40X, 16-18 *, still many on edge of vis, esp along Y.
    60X brings out more * but losing framing.
M49
  Starm: Easy d/v @60X, rnd halo 2-3', stellar core.
  Ranger: Barely vis a/v @20X, which is best power.
M50
  Starm:  @32X sim view to ranger @60X, much better @120X,
    more nrly fills up fld, still framed OK, brings out bunch
    of f * right nr ctr.  ~27 * in tngl, hard to say where ends.
  Ranger: Best @60X, roughly 6x12, >12*, some nr edge of vis,
    sparse, not clearly def.
M51
  Starm: Not vis @28X, found d/v @60X, then could see @40X.  Best
    @80X, twin cores reasonably br, S ~0.5 mag brter.  Attractive.
  Ranger: Pops out occasionally @40X, can't see twin cores.
M52
  Starm: Lovely @120X, res ~20*, shapely, rich.
  Ranger: F cloud @16X, @60X res ~6*, maybe more in and out a/v,
    but actually less distinct than at lower pow, not enough *
    to look like cluster but too well res to be cloud.
  Binos: Found location unmistakably, but no convincing cluster.
M53
  Starm: Very obv @28X, hint grainy res @120X.
  Ranger: Readily vis d/v @16X, no better higher, not v interesting.
  Binos: Tricky a/v.
M54
  Starm: @120X intensely brt, small, <1', pntlk lower pow.
  Ranger: Easy d/v @20X, intense, barely extended @60X.
M55
  Starm: Enormous, vague, a/v, best ~60X, better @40X than @120X.
    Dfclt, best seen when panning scope, >7' crc.
  Ranger: Very sim to Starm, sim dfclt, maybe best @30X, again
    harder @60X, enormous, vague.
M56
  Starm: Faint but readily vis @28X.  Much more obv @120X, small
    cloud 3' almost evenly br, fading slightly at edges.  No res.
  Ranger: Pretty hard, definitely requires a/v.
M57
  Starm: Readily vis @28X.  Donut, elongation obv @120X.
  Ranger: V small but readily vis @16X.  Donut not obv @60X.
M58
  Starm: Pickup @60X, easy @120X, br a/v but not quite vis d/v.
    Small core w 2' halo.
  Ranger: Likely, tiny patch of light right location @60X.
M59/M60
  Starm: @40X M60 pretty easy, M59 quite difclt, hint elip.
  Ranger: M59 don't think so, not sure.  M60 frly easy @30X.
M61
  Starm: Keep seeing patch @120X, biggish (3'-4'?), but cannot
    pin down.
M62
  Starm: Easy d/v, frly conc, 1.5', sim all pow 40X - 120X.
  Ranger: Sim sz as dist bet * pr 25' N (2') mod easy, sim all pow.
M63
  Starm: Took some doing, d/v @40X but not easy, best @80X 2x3 PA 90,
    comet-like with off-center core, perh streaming away fr nrby *.
  Ranger: @30X vis but not 100% sure, nrby * confuses things.
M64
  Starm: Readily vis d/v @28X, best @40X, fades out higher pow.
  Ranger: Challenge all pow, barely hold d/v @20X, OK @16X,
    fades high pow.
M65/M66
  Starm: @40X both d/v, M66 a lot easier than M65.  M65 just
    pinprick d/v, a/v brings out some halo.  @80X some structure
    M66 a/v two distinct blotches light within halo 3x5 PA 0.
    M65 not so much structure, vertical bar a/v in elusive halo.
  Ranger: M66 pretty obv a/v just SE of mod br *, extended patch ~4'.
    M65 much harder, ~3' f patch a/v.
M67
  Starm: @28X rather hard to see, doesn't quite resolve.
    Rather pretty @40X, diamond shaped ~20* all sim br except
    v br * in one corner.  Well framed @120X [12' in 30' fld],
    still only about 24 obvious *, sense more.
  Ranger: @20X tricky but perfectly vis, few * poking thru a/v,
    still recalcitrant at 80X, about 10* not quite forming up,
    but still obviously cluster.
M68
  Starm: Occasional glimpses extended patch v f ~3' a/v,
     possible, not likely, nothing confirmable.
M69
  Starm: Readily vis @28X, @120X nice, mod conc, 1.5' brt.
  Ranger: Dfclt a/v @16X, @20X, mod easy d/v @60X, similar to
    view in Starm.
M70
  Starm: Elusive @28X, quite nice @120X, bold core and halo.
    Couple * poke out a/v to N, possibly partly rslv?
  Ranger: Elusive a/v @60X, mod dfclt, evenly brt, extended.
M71
  Starm: 3' across, f patch, roughly sim 40X-120X, best @80X.
    Hints res @120X.
  Ranger: Had low hopes but in fact not so hard, maybe even d/v,
    clearer than nearby f *.  3' cloud.
M72
  Starm: @120X vf smudge, sl ellip 2x1.75 EW better a/v.
  Ranger: vf a/v @60X.
M73
  Starm: 4th * tricky, maybe a/v.
  Ranger: Not visible
M74
  Starm: Extremely difficult @120X, many faint patches popping
    up illusory as strain eyes to see f target.  F patch to W of
    GSC 1205-1196 apparent about 20% of time, esp when breathing
    out carefully, patch 1' - 2' across.  Checking against photos,
    just the right location and size for M74.
M75
  Starm: Obv all pow, @120X pntlk core, 1' halo, brt.
  Ranger: Barely d/v @16-20X, nicely vis, sm, conc @60X.
    Makes nice zigag line w 3 nrby * sim brt.
M76
  Starm: Readily vis @28X, resolves as nice peanut @120X, shape
    somewhat clearer UHC, 2x1.5.
  Ranger:  Neat.  Fnt a/v @40X, obvious a/v @120X but disappear
    d/v @120X, longer than wide.
M77
  Starm: Picked up vaguely @28X, still vague @40X.  @60X little
    fuzzy spot almost overlapping nrby *, ~3' (?).  Still vis but
    worse @120X.
  Ranger: Quite hard to see, vf fuzz patch a/v @60X. No sign nrby *.
M78
  Starm: Pick up f easily @28X as small, mod f fuzz patch, unres.
    @40X still nice fuzz patch, 2 contained *s also vis.  Neb
    starts to disapp higher powers, completely gone @80X, perhaps
    overwhelmed by stars now v obvious.  But @120X, pick up small
    new neb right arround 2 *s, big neb totally gone.
  Ranger: Quite hard, picked up eventually @40X, small fuzz
    patch a/v, 1 ctr * just possible.  Not vis at sig higher
    or lower powers.
M79
  Starm: Pick up vaguely @28X, still so-so @40X, best @60X ~4' (?)
    crc sl brter towards ctr, still there but fades out @120X.
M80
  Starm: Almost stellar @28X.  @40X - 120X, v obv, br, small, conc.
  Ranger: Much as in starm, v obv.
M81/M82
  Starm: @28X both quite obv, M81 pointlike core v f ellip halo,
    M82 somewhat indistinct line.  @40X M81 fuzzy star v f difclt
    halo 5x3 towards M82 [PA 0].  M82 one end lies just N of med
    br *, shows bar shape d/v, cent conc pops out a/v.  M82 @120X
    6x2 central rift pops out a/v, elusive.  @80X just about as
    good, much more pleasant, brter conc app W side of gap, sec
    conc E side, but not sure.  @160X poss better detail but
    pain to view, cent conc elongated rectangle along axis maybe.
  Ranger: @16X M81 obv M82 there but v elus, make out no detail.
M83
  Starm: Surprisingly easy to see @120X, prob core only, fuzzy *.
    Also poss fnt halo 2' towards ctr and W-most *s.
  Ranger: Maybe, f impress tiny fuzz patch @60X right location.
M84/M86
  Starm: Same fld @60X, frly easy d/v, 2-3' rnd, v bland, ufrm,
    worse than M87.
M85
  Starm: Frly easy, fuzzy *, stellar nucl, 1.5' circ halo @120X.
  Ranger: Probable @60X, f fuzzy * nr other *.
M87
  Starm: Best @80X, rnd halo 2-3', brightening gradually towards
    core, little tricky @28X, ready d/v higher pow.
  Ranger: Possibly vis @40X.
M88
  Starm: Subtle but obv @120X, elong patch 2x4 a/v PA 135 w poss
    brter circ patch ~1' ctr.
  Ranger: Occasional glimpses of frly l patch a/v, then disappears,
    cannot pin down, not at all sure.
M89
  Starm: Easy d/v @60X and @120X, fuzzy *, poss f 2' halo.
  Ranger: Probable, elusive.
M90
  Starm: @120X huge diffuse glow > 4', circ, hard to pin down.
  Ranger: No luck.
M91
  Starm: Probable, not 100% sure, lge circ f fuzz patch not cond,
    >2' @120X.
M92
  Starm: Lovely @120X, br 2' core in f 4' halo, poss bigger a/v,
    grainy, res some * halo a/v.
  Ranger: @60X lovely, br 2' core in 4' halo.
  Binos: Fair amount of work.  Small, quite br, nrly stellar,
    brighter than brightest in chain of 3 *s to NNE.
M93
  Starm: @60X 5x10 shaped like bkwrd P with 2 br * in head, plus
    3 * to E, res ~20*, not many more lurking, rather pretty.
  Ranger: @60X a lot as in Dob, no so many *s, P traced in neb.
M94
  Starm: Picked up as funny-looking * while hopping.  @120X
    starlike core 0.5', halo crc 2'.
  Ranger: Suspicious star @16X, obv fuzzy @40X, ~2' crc.
M95
  Starm: a/v @40X mod hard, inside pentangle of f-ish *.
  Ranger: Vague and challenging, a/v @30X.
M96
  Starm: Mod easy d/v @40X, fuzz patch grows with a/v, ~3'.
  Ranger: Smallish f blob a/v @30X in middle of nowhere.
M97
  Starm: Really obv UHC @40X, substantial f brt crc, just barely
    managed @60X w/o UHC, impossible other powers w/o UHC.
  Ranger: Frly dfclt a/v @16X w UHC, obvious crc.
M98
  Starm: Work hard, give up, hands getting v cold.
M99
  Starm: Intermittent but pretty sure, 2'.
M100
  Starm: Vague sense lge circle 3' a/v sweeping @120X.
M101
  Starm: Strained long and hard, poss lge f circ patch 4-5' sl
    brter than bkgd, better @80X (?) when can fit in fld *s
    better than at @120X.
M103
  Starm: Res ~20* @120X, rather pretty, elgant trngl, stands out
    best at higher power because of extra *s.
  Ranger: Backbone of 4 * on NE edge easy d/v, 2 more pr easy,
    incl SW apex of trngl, several more a/v @60X, not v convincing.
  Binos: Pretty sure I saw, not rslv, confirm Ranger.
M104
  Starm: Obvious @28X, easy hop.  Clrly elong, 2x0.75 PA est 90.
  Ranger: Similar view to starm, obv but small.
M105
  Starm: Looks like fuzzy * all pow 28X - 120X, d/v.
  Ranger: Circ, small, extremely f a/v 30X-40X.
M106
  Starm: Picked up frly easily @60X and @120X, extended, 4x2.
  Ranger: Shows up a/v @60X while sweeping, not vis otherwise,
   vague line 10x2.
M107
  Starm: v dfclt a/v, 1.5' crcl.
M108
  Starm: Quite dfclt, OK @40X, sl better @60X or 80X.  Just off line
    of 2 *s, ever so sltly N of line, vague sense elip EW.
  Ranger: Imagined many things, certainly can't confirm.
M109
  Starm: Picked up considerable dfclty in little quadrilateral of *s,
    frly lge (~5') apparently elongated.
M110
  Starm and Ranger: Vague, v dfclt a/v, sl ellip.  Almost identical
    in both scopes.

    - Tony Flanders


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