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:
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.
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!
“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:
Of the many deep-sky sights in the constellation Cygnus along the rich band of the northern Milky Way, the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) isn’t the biggest or brightest, but it still finds its place on the target list of many astrophotographers and visual observers. This shimmering and intricate arc of glowing gas presents a rare example of a massive star in its end stages as it ejects mass at a furious rate on its way to a violent demise as a supernova.
Cepheus, the King, is an ancient and rather dim constellation, but its position along the northern Milky Way means it harbors more than its share of deep-sky sights including star clusters, nebulae, even the lovely Fireworks galaxy (NGC 6946). But the best field of view in the constellation encompasses three deep-sky sights including a star-forming nebula, star cluster, and an aging red supergiant that’s one of the reddest and most luminous stars in the sky [Read more…] about The Elephant Trunk NebulaShare This: