From the September 2006 issue

Charting autumn’s galaxies

Use these print out finder charts for the season's best galaxies.
By | Published: September 22, 2006 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
August 2006’s story “Observe fall’s top galaxies” describes many celestial treats you can see through your telescope from a dark site. These four printable charts will help you locate more than a dozen of the story’s highlight galaxies. Take them with you for your next observing session.
Two of the sky’s best galaxies
Use this chart to locate the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Pinwheel Galaxy (M33), which lie less than 15° apart. Although you can spot both of these objects with your unaided eyes from a dark site, they look best through a telescope. Note the similarities and differences in their spiral arms, caused by their different angles of tilt from our perspective. And don’t miss NGC 891, an edge-on spiral with a dark dust lane that splits it lengthwise.
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Worthy spirals
Highlights of this finder chart include the Messier spiral galaxies M74 and M77. Be sure also to observe NGC 488 and NGC 676 in Pisces, NGC 772 in Aries, and NGC 1055, which lies almost exactly 0.5° north-northwest of M77.
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Observe Pegasus’ bright and faint galaxies
Spiral galaxy NGC 7331 in Pegasus shines at magnitude 9.5. Through telescopes 12-inches in diameter or larger, NGC 7331 marks the brightest member of a group of about a dozen galaxies. Another famous galaxy group lies near NGC 7331 — Stephan’s Quintet. And although you can see its five members with 8-inch or larger scopes from a dark site, you won’t begin to see details in these objects until you use at least a 16-inch telescope.
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Don’t miss Sculptor’s starry treats
The small southern constellation Sculptor contains many bright galaxies, but three really stand out. Prepare to spend lots of observing time on the Cigar Galaxy (NGC 55), the Southern Pinwheel (NGC 300), and the Silver Coin Galaxy (NGC 253).
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