3/15/2013 1:15 AM EDT
Clear sky, moderate light pollution. Found by using the tail star of the constellation Ursa Major, Alkaid. M51 is a little above it and very slightly to the left, when Ursa Major is inverted. All that was visible was a very faint smudge. If it would have been harder to locate by being further from a bright guide star, I don’t think I would have found it. Most useful eyepiece was 25mm, 32mm was also useful.
3/15/2013 1:40 AM EDT
Same conditions as previous observation. Found by using the constellation Hercules. It was in between the two bright stars near the head. Found using a 32mm eyepiece. It was a dim, but visible fuzzy. 9mm eyepiece was most useful. Could resolve much more detail using averted vision.
3/15/2013 1:50 AM EDT
Same conditions as previous observations. Found by the constellation Hercules, using a star in the arm to pinpoint its approximate location. Just visible with 32mm eyepiece. Most useful eyepiece was 9mm. Appeared as a white fuzzy, with little detail. Brightest at center.