Take any three stars and they’ll form some kind of triangle. But there is only one constellation Triangulum. It’s a small but ancient star group surrounded by the larger constellations Andromeda to the north and west, Pisces to the southwest, Aries to the south, and Perseus to the northeast. While modest, Triangulum hosts many fine sights for stargazers on a northern autumn (or southern spring) evening. Look for it about 10º due south of the star Almaak (γ Andromedae) and just northeast of Aries [Read more…] about A Trek Through TriangulumShare This:
We turn our gaze to the southern reaches of the constellation Puppis, south and east of the bright star Sirius and Canis Major, to examine two stunning star groups in a rich field of the Milky Way.
The first stop is the star cluster NGC 2477. Discovered by Nicolas de Lacaille (the ‘father of southern astronomy’) in 1752, this is a glorious star cluster, bright enough to be visible without optics from southern latitudes. It’s a fantastic binocular object, but it’s best viewed at low-power with a small telescope where it fits in the same field of view as an adjacent star cluster, NGC 2451. At a distance of 3,700 light years, NGC 2477 is one of the richest and densest of open star clusters and looks a little like the loose globular cluster M71 in the constellation Sagitta. The cluster has an impressive 1,900 members and spans about 37 light years. It’s also an ancient cluster, about 1 billion years old, and likely has lost many members since its birth to gravitational perturbations from other stars and star clusters [Read more…] about NGC 2477 – The Electric Guitar ClusterShare This:
Nearly overhead in the after-dinner hours of a northern winter night, the rich constellation Perseus offers even a modestly-equipped amateur astronomer many hours of pleasant stargazing. Named after the great hero of Greek mythology, Perseus finds itself in the starry plane of the Milky Way Galaxy where thousands of brilliant blue-white stars have coalesced in the the last few tens of millions of years. Near the star Mirfak, or α (alpha) Persei, the brightest star in Perseus, lies a particularly dazzling collection of associated blue-white stars that make up a loose cluster often called the “Attendants of Mirfak”. This little group is a beautiful sight in binoculars [Read more…] about The Attendants of MirfakShare This:
As befits a large constellation at the edge of the Milky Way, Ophiuchus is packed with deep-sky sights for observers with small and large telescopes. Open and globular star clusters abound here, along with many fine double stars. Let’s have a short tour of a handful of the highlights of the constellation, moving from easy objects to more difficult sights [Read more…] about Touring Clusters and Stars in OphiuchusShare This:
The famed V-shaped head of the constellation Taurus is dominated by a lovely collection of blue and orange stars of the Hyades star cluster. Often overshadowed by the smaller and more famous Pleiades, the Hyades are visible high in the northern sky this time of year. They’re visible from the southern hemisphere, too, perhaps 20° above the northern horizon just after sunset in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Hyades have been known since antiquity. The cluster’s name comes from the Greek legend of the seven Hyads, the daughters of the titan Atlas and Aethra. Atlas was busy because he had seven more daughters by another wife, Pleione. These daughters were called the Pleiades. So by legend, the Pleiades and the Hyades are half-sisters. Unlike the Pleiades star cluster, the stars of the Hyades are not named after the sisters. And the Hyades contains some 20 stars visible to the naked eye; the Pleiades have just six [Read more…] about The Hyades Star Cluster – The “Raining Stars”Share This: