The Binocular Sky


M101 (NGC 5457)

Constellation: UMa
Object Type: Galaxy
RA:  14h 3m 12s
Dec:  +54° 20' 57"
Magnitude: 7.7
Recommended minimum aperture: 50mm

Charts for 100mm Binocular (2.5° aperture circle).   Click on a chart to print it.


M101 is just inside the 3rd apex of an equilateral triangle that has Alkaid (η UMa) and Mizar (ζ UMa) as its other apexes.

What You Should See:

M101 has a visual integrated magnitude of 7.7, but is very large in apparent area (nearly the size of the Moon) and, consequently, a low surface brightness. It requires a dark, transparent sky. It appears as a circular brightening of the sky. It is quite easy once you know what you are looking for, but can be tricky the first time. Use averted vision and tap the binocular to make it jiggle slightly, and you should see it.