The showpiece of the constellation Aquarius is the grand and elusive Helix Nebula, NGC 7293. One of the closest and apparently largest of all planetary nebulae, the Helix is one of the few sights that’s easier to see in a small telescope than in a large one. In images, like the excellent collaboration above led by Warren Keller at BillionsandBillions.com, the nebula looks like an expansive eye in deep sky. Some refer to the Helix as the “Eye of God” [Read more…] about The Helix NebulaShare This:
The Castaway Cluster, catalogued as NGC 6520, is located just above the spout in the “Teapot” of Sagittarius. This is a rich region of the Milky Way containing many gas clouds and star clusters, including the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae. NGC 6520, a tiny jewel of a cluster, is often forgotten amongst these more famous sites [Read more…] about The Castaway ClusterShare This:
One of the best targets for a quick stargazing session this time of year is the pretty but underappreciated open star cluster IC 4665. It’s a snap to find, beautiful to behold, and like most sky sights on Cosmic Pursuits, it’s visible from the northern and southern hemispheres.
IC 4665 is spread out over a full degree, more than twice the diameter of the full Moon, so it looks fainter than its integrated magnitude of 4.7. In dark sky, IC4665 is just barely visible to the unaided eye roughly 1° NE of the star Celebrai in the constellation Ophiuchus. Celebrai, or β (beta) Ophiuchi, is one of the stars in the distinctive asterism called Taurus Poniatowski, the “little bull”. If you’re battling light pollution, you’ll need binoculars to spot the cluster [Read more…] about IC 4665, the “HI” Star ClusterShare This:
The Veil Nebula is a sprawling supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus and is one of the most intricate and beautiful objects visible with a small telescope. The nebula was formed by two stars that exploded 18,000 and 5,000 years ago, approximately. The stars were just 2,000 light years away, close enough to create a spectacular display when they detonated. Each must have shone as bright as a crescent Moon and cast shadows by night for weeks, but there are no records of these prehistoric events carved on a cave wall anywhere, at least none yet discovered [Read more…] about View of the Veil NebulaShare This:
Within the Summer Triangle, in the constellation Vulpecula, the Fox, lies a fairly new star cluster NGC 6823 embedded within the glowing gas cloud of its birthplace, the nebula NGC 6820. The image above by astrophotographer Jeff Johnson of New Mexico shows cluster and emission nebula along with a dark nebula within the brighter emission nebula that shrouds yet another round of star formation [Read more…] about A View of New Star Cluster and NebulaShare This: