SEE THE GALAXIES
Although none of the galaxies we’ve covered here are visible to the naked eye, several, such as M104 (the Sombrero Galaxy) and M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy), are fine sights through amateur telescopes. If you’ve never observed a distant galaxy through a telescope before, you’ll soon realise why many astronomers affectionately refer to deep-sky objects as faint fuzzies. It’s a description that sums up rather well the view of many galaxies through the eyepiece of a modest amateur telescope: a faint, fuzzy blob. That’s not to say there aren’t brighter examples that show more structure or interesting features, such as M104’s dark bar, though. As with many celestial objects the key to seeing more detail is to get away from light pollution and use a larger aperture telescope. If you don’t have one then pay a visit to your local astronomical society observing evening or star party during the galaxy seasons of spring and autumn. These events often provide access to largeaperture instruments.
The author’s sketch of M104, its dark bar clearly visible