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Witch head nubula

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Witch head nubula

Postby travis1 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:24 am

I have a Celestron Astromaster 114 AZ. I was looking for the witch head Nebula recently on a nice dark night and was unable to see it. I am pretty sure I was looking at or near it. I searched the sky near the star in orion that it is near, can not remember the name but it is the lower right leg or foot of the constellation. Maybe it is farther away from the star than it seems. I Have been looking for various galaxies and am never able to see them either. Is my scope not collecting enough light? Is it possible that I would require a greater magnification eye piece? If so, what would be a good optic to get?


Postby Jne_K on Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:36 am


It's not a matter of finding it with that scope, it's a matter of trying to see it with that scope. You really need to get a bigger scope, in the area of 8" and also under a dark sky to see the Witch Head. That's asking too much of a 4.5" scope, especially if you have light pollution. Remember, it is scope size in terms of the lens or mirror size that determines how faint an object you can see and that translates into how many objects you can see. A small scope can see exactly the same TYPES of objects, it just can't see as many of them or as much detail in them.

Try to select galaxies and other objects that are within the range of that scope size. Good choices in galaxies for a 114MM include M31, M81, M82. Check out some of the better open star clusters, including the Pleaides, M41, M35 and so on. Still penty of things to see in a 114, but you have to stay within reach of what a scope that size can do.

Keep in mind, too, that when searching for these deep-sky objects, you need a dark sky and you also have to take the basic steps to let your eyes adapt to darkness. Light of any kind, from the moon or light pollution, will have a huge effect on what you can and cannot see. Just going from the city to the country, where you get a truly dark sky, can make a tremendous difference with any telesope, but especially a small telescope.

For the basics on how to setup and use your telescope, see my article
Telescope FAQs

For some other helpful observing tips, see my article, A Dozen Telescope Observing Tips For Beginners
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