The constellation Leo is stuffed with galaxies that are visible in a backyard telescope. Three of the brightest and best known are M65, M66, and NGC 3628, also known as the “Leo Triplet”. You can see all three galaxies in virtually any telescope and even in a good pair of binoculars. If you can see all three galaxies at once, keep in mind you’re seeing at one time the collected light of more than half a trillion stars [Read more…] about Galaxy Tour: The Leo TripletShare This:
The planet Venus has returned to the sky at a “morning star”, shining brightly in the eastern sky before sunrise in the constellation Cancer, the Crab. Venus is by far the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and Moon. It shines at magnitude -4.5, nearly as bright as it gets, and spans about 44″ when seen in a telescope. The face of the planet is a magnificent slender crescent shape just 18% illuminated by the Sun.
Venus is joined by Jupiter, which rises a little later and shines a little fainter. The two planets made a dramatic display in the evening sky earlier in 2015 and will now dominate the morning sky for the rest of the year. Too low in the sky to reveal much detail, Jupiter is still worth a look in binoculars or a small telescope, if just to see its fat disk and its four biggest moons make their way around the big planet. The planet now appears about 31″ across, much smaller than Venus, but fully illuminated.
Between the two bright planets, you also see the ochre glow of Mars, still relatively faint at magnitude +1.8 and just 3.8″ across. It’s far too small and distant to reveal any detail in a telescope. The planet will slowly brighten over the next 8 months on the way to opposition in May 2016. Just below Mars, closer to Jupiter, you see the icy white star Regulus in the constellation Leo, shining slightly brighter at magnitude +1.4.Share This: