The rich and gauzy star fields along the Milky Way towards the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius constitute what’s arguably the most beautiful part of the night sky. Northern observers can see these constellations well over the southern horizon in the mid-to-late evening hours in August and September, while southern-hemisphere observers see this glorious region nearly overhead. Aim binoculars or a telescope towards this part of the sky, or simply gaze in this direction on a dark night with your unaided eyes, and you will see something good. The trick is figuring out which sight is which. To help you sort it all out, here’s a step-by-step tour of a small selection of the more prominent sights of the deep sky towards the center of the Milky Way [Read more…] about Touring the Heart of the Milky Way – Part 1Share This:
The constellation Serpens Caput, the Snake’s Head, lies well off the band of the Milky Way and holds relatively few deep-sky sights. But it’s not completely barren. Let’s have a look at three targets in this ancient constellation for stargazers equipped with modest optics and an urge to see something good [Read more…] about Going Deep in the Snake’s HeadShare This:
In last month’s constellation tour, we examined the dazzling stars of the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. This month, we move due south to the northern section of the constellation Serpens, the only constellation split into two parts. These are the stars of Serpens Caput, the ‘head of the snake’, which zigzags vertically along the celestial sphere, just north of the celestial equator, and just west of the much larger constellation Ophiuchus, the ‘serpent bearer’. The stars of Serpens Caput are visible in the northern and southern hemispheres [Read more…] about The Constellation Serpens Caput, the ‘Snake’s Head’Share This:
Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown, is a small but lovely semicircular constellation just to the east of Böotes, the Herdsman. In the months of May and June, shortly after sunset, the constellation lies nearly overhead for northern-hemisphere observers, and well over the northern horizon for southern stargazers. It’s one of the oldest constellations, and one of the few that vividly resembles its name.
The constellation takes its name from the crown, in Greek legend, given to the maiden Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Ariadne had been abandoned on the island of Naxos by Theseus, the legendary hero who slew the Minotaur. The god Dionysus rescued the maiden, fell in love with her, and gave her a jeweled crown forged by Hephaestus, god of the forge. Ariadne and Dionysus had a happy life together. But she was mortal and eventually died. Dionysus placed her crown in the heavens to remember her [Read more…] about The Constellation Corona BorealisShare This:
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: