I knew M81 and M82 were good targets, but despite them never setting at my latitude, I had never tried to observe them until now.

I began the search at twilight while the sky was still fairly bright. I scanned the area above the line that connects Dubhe and the adjacent star that makes up the bear's "head" (Ursa Major) for any hints of smudges. No such luck. I then decided just to bring out the scope and put my wide FOV eyepiece in. After a few minutes 2 not so faint smudges showed up in my field of view: Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy.

Bode's galaxy appears as a fairly high magnitude face on galaxy. No features visible. Scarce background stars. Averted vision shows a brighter core surrounded by diffuse light.

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Bode's Galaxy

  • Observed with: Orion 10'' SkyQuest dobsonian
  • Seeing: below average
  • Light pollution: above average