Messier Objects

M83: Spiral Galaxy (Hydra)
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

M83 would certainly be considered among the most spectacular deep-sky objects by Northern Hemisphere observers, if not for its location. Sitting near the far southerly declination of -30 degrees, M83 never rises above the soupy air near the horizon for North American and European backyard astronomers. It skims the treetops from my dark sky site twelve miles outside Flagstaff. Fortunately, the skies of northern Arizona remain dark and transparent at that altitude. M83 appears as a 8'x7' object at 129X in the 10-inch Starfinder. A noticeably brighter 7'x2' central bar is oriented northeast to southwest. The stellar nuclear region is visible within this bar. Delicate spiral arms casually wind to the northeast and southwest. A handful of 12th and 13th magnitude stars are visible in the foreground. A magnitude 9.6 star can be seen just inside the northwest edge of the field.

M81 & M82 M84 & M86-Virgo Cluster


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Revised: February 14, 2002 [WDF]