In this month’s sky tour, we grab our optics and tour of a few of the deep-sky highlights of the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. Auriga lies along the relatively rich path of the northern Milky Way. And while it’s not Sagittarius, to be sure, the constellation has an eclectic selection of open clusters, nebulae, and interesting stars. Southern-hemisphere stargazers can also spot the constellation over the northern horizon in December through February [Read more…] about Ambling Through AurigaShare This:
If you’re looking for something good to see in the northern-hemisphere winter sky, my recent article at Sky & Telescope magazine will give you plenty of ideas. From the star clusters of Perseus down to the rich fields of Canis Major and Puppis, this tour includes a couple of dozen deep-sky sights and collections of sights that look better in a small telescope than in a big one.
And, in the video below, I walk through the article with Dr. Frank Timmes of the University of Arizona as part of the American Astronomical Society’s video series. Take some ideas from this article, dress warmly, and head outside your your scope!
Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) has been putting on quite a show, at least for astrophotographers, low over the southern horizon late in December through early January. The faint tail has grown to an immense length and clearly appears to be breaking into pieces as this spectacular image reveals. In early January it remains an elusive object and one better positioned for southern-hemisphere observers.
But if you haven’t managed to see it, you can still enjoy plenty of online images. One of the most spectacular was captured by the expert imagers Terry Hancock and Tom Masterson as the comet passed the globular cluster Messier 3 in Canes Venatici in the early-morning sky on December 3. As they processed this once-in-a-lifetime image, they discovered a pleasant surprise – a meteor trail blazed through the field of view! Here you see the mesmerizing yellow-orange glow of the meteor trail left by sulfur and iron atoms left in the trail of the burnt-up meteor. The image was captured with a QHY367 Pro C one-shot color CMOS camera and a Takahashi E180 Astrograph using the System 4a telescope at Grand Mesa Observatory.
Bob King has a recent update and more images of the comet at the Sky & Telescope website.Share This:
The sunrise comes late this time of year, especially for those who like me wake at 5 a.m. But on November 4, the man on the morning radio show announced, along with the standard traffic and weather reports, that a brilliant display of aurora borealis was underway and was visible from nearly anywhere in the city. So, despite a temperature well below freezing, I grabbed camera and tripod to head behind the house to see what all the fuss was about [Read more…] about Auroral Activity Kicks Into High GearShare This:
“Out on the lawn I lie in bed, Vega conspicuous overhead…” -W.H. Auden
I see plenty of stars in my line of work, and I’ve yet to see one I don’t like. But if had to choose a favorite, it would be the dazzling star Vega, the jewel of the tiny constellation Lyra, the Lyre. Intensely bright and blue-white in color, Vega conjurs memories of pleasant summer evenings spent stargazing and offers astronomers a remote stellar laboratory to help understand how stars evolve [Read more…] about Contemplating the “Harp Star”Share This: