If you want to see galaxies and don't want to stay up until 2 a.m., May is the month.
Virgo is perfectly positioned from dark until about 11:00 to show you literally hundreds of galaxies. Yes, I said hundreds. Many are over 75 million light years away. If light travel 186,000 miles per second, can you even imagine how far it can travel in a year? 75 million years?
To me, the best part of having your own telescope is to see something that far away with your own eyes.
There is a big group of galaxies in the Virgo are of the night sky. All these galaxies are part of the local group as it is called---our local group.
After the full moon a few days from now, you'll notice the moon rising later and later. By next Sunday, the 2nd of May, the moon doesn't come up for me until midnight. That begins the idea days. From sunset until midnight I can hunt galaxies.
Finding and seeing galaxies takes practice. Your eyes must be dark adapted---no flashlights, no going in the house for cookies. Once your eyes are dark adapted, look between Leo and Virgo for dozens of smudges---stars that won't focus---those are galaxies. Don't use high power. Start out at about 50X---contact me if you need to know how to calculate power. This higher the power, the less light, the dimmer the object. So starting with high power is tough.
Once you get used to seeing galaxies, they will appear brighter and bigger to you. It takes practice.
Why can't you wait until June?
In June, Virgo will be to far west. By the time the sun is setting, so will Virgo. I has to be very dark. In June the sun sets about an hour later and Virgo is bit more toward the west. Too late. And then we enter another blinding moon cycle.
Get ready, plan you targets. Plan you hunt.
I decided last night to make a log book just for galaxies. I want to see how many I can log in May. When I log something I don't just jump around finding things. I spend time with them. I try to really get a good feel for an objects position so I can easily find it again. So, devoting a month to galaxy hunting will be a real challenge! Join me? Free log forms are here
. Start your own galaxy log book for May!