Galaxy season is back, and I’m going hunting in the deep sky. Among tonight’s targets is NGC 5907, the “Splinter Galaxy” in the constellation Draco. Part of the NGC 5866 galaxy group, this edge-on spiral is 50 million light years away. At a length of 120,000 light years long, it’s one of the largest edge-on systems visible in a small telescope, with a mass of 250 billion Suns. NGC 5907 is well-known for its warped disk and a dramatic arc of stars that suggests a recent collision with another galaxy. It also lacks the number of giant stars expected of a spiral galaxy [Read more…] about From the Observer’s Log: The Splinter GalaxyShare This:
Deep Sky Observing
Articles about how to understand, find, and see celestial objects including stars, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters with binoculars, telescopes, and the naked eye.
Like an old friend returning after a long absence, the dazzling globular cluster Messier 13 in the constellation Hercules rises in the eastern sky a little earlier each night, a welcome sight along with the bright stars constellations of northern spring and summer.
M13 is one of the finest showpieces of the northern spring and summer skies. It’s located along one edge of the “Keystone” shape of Hercules (see image below). Just at the limit of human eyesight, M13 holds a million stars some 12-13 billion years old, nearly as old as the universe [Read more…] about Messier 13 ReturnsShare This:
Stars in the Milky Way tend to revolve around the center of the galaxy, bobbing slightly above and below the galactic plane as if in a perpetual cosmic merry-go-round. But sometimes a star gets catapulted across the sky by a close gravitational interaction with another star. One of the best-known “runaway stars” lies in the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. Known as AE Aurigae, this blazing star is passing by chance through a cold cloud of interstellar gas. The result is ‘accidental’ emission nebula cataloged as IC 405, but more commonly called the Flaming Star Nebula [Read more…] about The Flaming Star NebulaShare This:
The brilliant planet Venus is just over 2° from the Pleiades star cluster, while the V-shaped Hyades star cluster, which makes up much of the constellation Taurus, is to the left of Venus in this image. The constellation Orion is at extreme left. This image taken after sunset over the Ottawa River on a pleasant spring night on April 12, 2015.
Shining at magnitude -4.1 for most of the month, Venus is easy to find high above the western horizon as the Sun goes down. It outshines every object in the sky except for the Sun and Moon. The planet moves a little higher each night until early June.Share This: