While not a constellation itself, the Summer Triangle dominates the overhead sky in the northern summer and autumn months and guides stargazers to other stars, constellations, and deep-sky sights. The vertices of the triangle are marked by three bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair, each of which belong to true constellations Lyra, Cygnus, and Aquila, respectively. The image below shows the Summer Triangle rising as seen from mid-northern latitudes at 10 p.m. in mid July. The triangle is big: it spans about two full hand widths held at arm’s length. The triangle can be seen well south of the equator, too, above the northern horizon. Southern stargazers call it the “Northern Triangle” or the “Winter Triangle” [Read more…] about Touring the Summer TriangleShare This:
Thanks to gravity, most galaxies clump together in groups or clusters, so a neighboring galaxy is usually never far away. But the galaxy NGC 6503 has found itself in a lonely position, perched at the edge of a strangely empty patch of space called the Local Void. The galaxy is near enough and bright enough to spot with a small telescope in the northern constellation Draco, the Dragon [Read more…] about NGC 6503, the Lost-in-Space GalaxyShare This:
Today, let’s look at the spiral galaxy M83, a lovely cosmic lotus blossom and one of the showpieces in the southern deep sky.
Barely visible from northern latitudes, M83 lies roughly 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. It’s one of the 25 brightest galaxies in the sky, and one of the closest and brightest barred spiral galaxies. At magnitude 7.6, it’s easily visible with binoculars and small telescopes about 18° due south of the bright star Spica, in Virgo, and just north of the star Menkent in the constellation Centaurus [Read more…] about The Southern Pinwheel – M83Share This:
I had the great pleasure of recently interviewing the master astrophotographer Alan Dyer of AmazingSky.com to discuss the basics of nightscape imaging with a digital camera. This sort of imaging, which combines elements of landscape photography and astrophotography, has become extremely popular over the last few years thanks to the advent of large, low-noise sensors in digital SLR cameras. Alan is the author most recently of the multi-media guide called Nightscapes and Timelapses which gives a comprehensive introduction to the art and craft of nightscape imaging.
As you listen to my interview with Alan, you will discover: [Read more…] about Secrets of Nightscape Imaging – Interview with Alan DyerShare This:
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: