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:
The Crescent Nebula, located near the middle star that marks the heart of the constellation Cygnus, is a complex arc of gas that’s powered by the machinations of a massive dying star. Called WR 136, this star is just 4-5 million years old, but it’s big enough to have quickly burned through its store of fuel in its core and has now entered a stage where it sheds mass from its outer layer at a prodigious rate, nearly one full solar mass every 10,000 years. This fast-moving hot gas, which moves at a speed of 2,000-3,000 km/s, collides with cooler gas ejected by the star during its quieter days, and the collision excites the gas to emit light. Massive and mass-losing stars like WR 136 are called Wolf-Rayet stars. There are only about 150 such stars known in the Milky Way [Read more…] about The Crescent 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: