What Galaxies Can You Only See With a Telescope?

Man’s curiosity is as vast as the Universe. People have endless questions about the different phenomena and the existence of things on Earth and beyond. The study about our favorite Milky Way Galaxy and some other galaxies has been around since the 17th century. 

Besides our Milky Way, billions of other galaxies are bigger, smaller, elliptical, spiral, irregular, and other galaxies in the Universe but are still unnamed, and some are yet unknown.

We cannot see how exactly they look like with just our naked eyes. We knew bits of information and had an idea of how they look because we can see them on the Internet, read in books, or watch TV. However, the best option is to observe and watch them using a telescope!

Besides the stars, Sun, moons, and planets, there are other galaxies that we can see using a telescope.

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda-Galaxy

Also called M31, this magnificent galaxy is another naked-eye object visible and enjoyable through small telescopes. You can find it by locating the North Star, then the constellation Cassiopeia, which looks like a giant “W” directly across the Big Dipper, with the North Star in between the two.

Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirpool galaxy is also known as the M51. This is one of the largest galaxies visible without a professional telescope and more apparent with a telescope. Two galaxies collided millions of years ago and had created this colorful and dramatic object. Look southeast to look for it, about 3.5 degrees of the last star in the Big Dipper’s handle.

Cigar Galaxy

Also known as M82, the Cigar galaxy shines brightly at infrared wavelengths and is notable for its star formation activity. It experiences gravitational interactions with M81, its galactic neighbor resulting in an extraordinarily high star formation rate, also called a starburst.

German astronomer Johann Elert Bode discovered M82, along with its neighbor M81, in 1774. The Cigar Galaxy is 12 million light-years away from Earth in the Ursa Major constellation with an evident magnitude of 8.4. It is visible as a patch of light using binoculars in the same field of view with M81, but a larger and more complex telescope will help resolve the galaxy’s core and is best observed in April.

Pinwheel Galaxy

Discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781, the Pinwheel Galaxy is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. The information was forwarded to Charles Messier, who verified the galaxy’s position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.

NASA and the European Space Agency released a detailed image of the Pinwheel Galaxy on February 28, 2006. It was the most extensive and detailed image of a galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, composed of 51 individual exposures and some extra ground-based photos.

Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy

This lenticular galaxy in the Virgo and Corvus constellation borders is about 31.1 million light-years from Earth. It is 49,000 light-years in diameter or about 30% the size of the Milky Way. It has a bright nucleus, a vast central bulge, and a prominent dust lane in its inclined disk, giving an appearance of a sombrero hat. Initially, astronomers thought that the halo was small and light, indicative of a spiral galaxy. 

Still, the Spitzer Space Telescope found that the dust ring is larger and more massive than previously thought, thus indicating a giant elliptical galaxy.

NGC 1300

This barred spiral galaxy is located about 61 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. NGC 1300 is about 110,000 light-years across (about the same size as the Milky Way) was discovered by John Herschel in 1835. It is a member of the Eridanus Cluster, a cluster of 200 galaxies.

Tadpole Galaxy

UGC 10214 or Tadpole Galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy located 420 million light-years from Earth in the northern constellation Draco. It features a massive star trail about 280,000 light-years long. The galaxy’s size has been attributed to a merger with a smaller galaxy believed to have occurred about 100 million years ago. 

This galaxy is filled with bright blue star clusters. Astronomers theorized that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of the Tadpole Galaxy, passing from left to right from Earth’s perspective and slung around behind the Tadpole by their mutual gravitational attraction.

Hoag’s Object

This is a rare ring-shaped galaxy about 100 000 light-years across and located 600 million light-years from Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope took a recent image of the oddball object and was processed by geophysicist Benoit Blanco. It is a bright ring of billions of blue stars forming a perfect circle around a much smaller and denser sphere of reddish stars.

Large Magellanic Cloud, night sky, stars

LMC or Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud or LMC is at 163,000 light-years, making it one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way. It is also Milky Way’s satellite galaxy. In the Local Group, it’s the fourth-largest galaxy right next to the Triangulum Galaxy.

How to See Galaxies With Your Telescope

Bortle Zones

Finding dark sky spots near you might considerably improve your night sky viewing experience. You can use dark sky maps to locate the closest location to you. 

Bortle Zones rate dark sky places based on light pollution from city lights and vehicles in the area. The scale runs from 1 to 9, one representing the deepest of gloomy skies and nine being the brightest, such as Times Square in New York!

Increasing Your Telescope’s Power

Eyepieces are an excellent way to increase the amount of light that your telescope can capture. You’ll want to pick an eyepiece that’s the right size for your telescope. Purchasing the greatest magnitude eyepiece isn’t always the best option because, depending on the aperture of your telescope, it may be excessively powerful and result in a hazy image.

Larger Aperture Telescopes

A 4-inch telescope is an excellent place to start when it comes to studying the night sky. As you better understand the night sky’s possibilities, you can consider investing in a telescope with a larger aperture.

Classic telescopes such as Dobsonians can also provide spectacular details, though professional observatories are the best choice. When purchasing a large-aperture telescope, one with an aperture of more than 8 inches is a fantastic place to start.