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:
One of the most notable asterisms in the sky gained its fame just over 30 years ago. Called Kemble’s Cascade after the Franciscan friar from the Canadian prairies named Lucien Kemble, this group tumbles gracefully through the far-northern sky just east of Cassiopeia, ending at the open cluster NGC 1502. This is a perfect target for quick observation by northern observers on a cold winter’s night.
Here’s how to see this pretty little asterism for yourself. [Read more…] about A Look at ‘Kemble’s Cascade’Share This:
The Castaway Cluster, catalogued as NGC 6520, is located just above the spout in the “Teapot” of Sagittarius. This is a rich region of the Milky Way containing many gas clouds and star clusters, including the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae. NGC 6520, a tiny jewel of a cluster, is often forgotten amongst these more famous sites [Read more…] about The Castaway ClusterShare This:
One of the best targets for a quick stargazing session this time of year is the pretty but underappreciated open star cluster IC 4665. It’s a snap to find, beautiful to behold, and like most sky sights on Cosmic Pursuits, it’s visible from the northern and southern hemispheres.
IC 4665 is spread out over a full degree, more than twice the diameter of the full Moon, so it looks fainter than its integrated magnitude of 4.7. In dark sky, IC4665 is just barely visible to the unaided eye roughly 1° NE of the star Celebrai in the constellation Ophiuchus. Celebrai, or β (beta) Ophiuchi, is one of the stars in the distinctive asterism called Taurus Poniatowski, the “little bull”. If you’re battling light pollution, you’ll need binoculars to spot the cluster [Read more…] about IC 4665, the “HI” Star ClusterShare This: