Northern stargazers in spring look out of the plane of the Milky Way in the night sky before midnight, so there are few bright stars and star clusters visible, and even fewer bright nebula. But there is a little gem under the bowl of the Big Dipper, the famous Owl Nebula, also known as M97. A young planetary nebula, M97 is a speeding cloud of glowing gas ejected by a small dying star. In a small telescope under dark sky, the nebula resembles the eyes of wise old barn owl gazing out of the interstellar darkness [Read more…] about The Owl NebulaShare 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.
While it may take a little practise to see the subtle differences in each of these balls of ancient stars, and despite claims of many beginning stargazers, all globular clusters do not look the same. The images above show four of the brightest globular clusters visible in a telescope this time of year. Each has a distinctive appearance, pattern, and brightness gradient. All images were taken with the same exposure and filter and with the same 6″ RC telescope so you can get an idea of their comparative appearance [Read more…] about From the Observer’s Log: Four Great GlobsShare This:
The bright star Sadr marks the chest of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Located in the direction of the northern Milky Way, this little patch of sky is packed with diffuse emission and dark nebulae that are part of the much larger Cygnus Molecular Cloud. This image by Terry Hancock shows the rich nebulosity in this region as captured from his backyard observatory in Fremont Michigan. He created this mosaic originally consisting of 5 panels and later cropped to make 4 panels using 187 individual frames and a total exposure time of over 18 hours. The total mosaic covers an area approximately 6.5 x 5.4 degrees. Equipment used, QHY11 Monochrome CCD and Takahashi E-180 [Read more…] about Nebulosity in the ‘Swan’s Chest’Share This:
The Eta Carinae Nebula, the jewel of the southern-hemisphere constellation Carina, the Keel, is the most spectacular example of an active star factory in all the heavens. The nebula is about 260 light years across, some seven times larger than the Orion Nebula. And while it’s 7,500 light years away, five times farther away than Orion, it’s still easily visible to the even the most casual stargazer as a large frosty patch three times as wide as the full Moon in the Milky Way west of the constellation Crux, the Southern Cross [Read more…] about The Eta Carinae NebulaShare This:
“We and our world are the minutiae and curiosa– galaxies are the grand realities.” -Leland Copeland
This wide-field image of the core of the Virgo cluster reveals several dozen of the more than 2,000 galaxies spread across our sky between the stars Denebola in Leo and Vindemiatrix in Virgo [Read more…] about Panorama of the Virgo ClusterShare This: