Sketch ready:

M 101

M 101

Drawing data

M 101 UMa GX
Date(s) of observation:
2009.05.23/24. Ágasvár
2009.05.24/25. Ágasvár
Place(s) of observation:
Telescope(s) used:
16" f/4.4 Dobsonian (MCSE)
Enlargement(s) used:
196x (9mm Nagler)
Field size:
Author / Observer:
Peter Kiss


An old dream of mine came true when I had the chance to draw one of the most spectacular spirals of the northern hemisphere. There are so many spiral arms in the field that one literally needs to untangle them. To find where one arm is coming from or going to is probably harder in the inner, brighter areas than in the outer, fainter areas because there is less contrast in the central section. The core is very bright but not stellar. 16-17 bright spots are visible inside or around the spiral arms. Some of them show various details: granularity; elongation; a contrasty, undulating edge. What can be seen in the telescope is perfectly in line with the photographs. We checked this after the sketch was ready - Ivan was photographing this galaxy while I was sketching by the telescope.

M 101, small aperture drawing (4
M 101, small aperture drawing (4" f/4, 48x) from 2000, Ágasvár. Peter Kiss

I had already drawn M 101 before, but with a much smaller telescope, my 4" f/4 Dobsonian. I didn't see the spiral arms with my little telescope in the spring of 2000 from Ágasvár. The galaxy was probably right at the border: some details could be seen but the grand structure didn't reveal itself. It was hard to capture the small inhomogenities, the slight differences in contrast.

Comparison with the photograph

M 101 drawing using a 40 cm Newtonian.
M 101 drawing using a 40 cm Newtonian. Peter Kiss
M 101 photo by Iván Éder using a 30 cm astrograph.
M 101 photo by Iván Éder using a 30 cm astrograph. Copyright Iván Éder. Source:

The photo on the left, courtesy of Iván Éder was made using a 30 cm astrograph at the exact same spot the drawing was made (within a 10 m circle) on the same night. The original photograph has been rotated and cropped to show a similar area as the positive drawing.

Of course neither the colors nor the tiny ripples of the spiral could be seen in the telescope but apart from these the eyepiece impression was rather convincing. I could not see all of the very faint arms and the central part of the spiral is inaccurate on the drawing. This is due to the lack of contrast. The bright star forming regions were an excellent sight.

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