In the months from late November through early March, in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the famous Pleiades star cluster grabs the attention of experienced and untutored stargazers alike. The little dipper-shaped cluster, which is about the width of your little finger held at arm’s length, presents a spectacular sight in binoculars or small telescope where it transforms from a tiny cluster of half a dozen members to an arresting array of couple of hundred of blue-white stars. The cluster itself is a snap to observe, but at its heart lies a far more challenging object, an ethereal reflection nebula created by starlight reflected by fine grains of stardust in an interstellar cloud that the cluster is passing through. [Read more…] about The Merope NebulaShare This:
The Crescent Nebula
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.
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The Rosette Nebula
Look to the east of mighty Orion and you’ll see the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. While its stars are faint, Monoceros holds a small treasure chest of superb deep-sky sights for backyard stargazers. Perhaps the most striking is the Rosette Nebula, an achingly beautiful blossom of glowing gas and dust where new stars are forming. The Rosette is an immense nebula, some three times larger than the Orion Nebula and three times farther away. As you see in the image above by Terry Hancock, the nebula overlaps the star cluster NGC 2244 which has formed within the nebula and blown a bubble to give us a look inside. While hard to see the Rosette visually, even in large telescopes, the nebula is an excellent photographic target and the cluster is a superb sight [Read more…] about The Rosette NebulaShare This:
Snapshot of the Sword of Orion
Never let a clear sky go to waste! After a quick look with binoculars at the Orion Nebula and the other features in and around the Sword of Orion, I tried to capture the same view with a quick snapshot through a DSLR. This view shows the Sword region framed against tree limbs over Washington, D.C.
Taken with an unmodified Nikon D750 with Nikkor 70-200 mm f/4 lens at 200 mm, 2 seconds, ISO6400.Share This:
The Dusty Birth of a New Star
This marvelous image from the European Southern Observatory shows a small section of the Milky Way going about its business making new stars. Here you see in this dusty region the reflected light of a new main sequence star, HD 97300, as it settles down into its billion-year life span [Read more…] about The Dusty Birth of a New StarShare This: