February 2005 Archives

Messier 34

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Click image for larger version. The above sketch is an update to the original to clean it up a bit and update the format. The original is shown below. Observation Notes: This is a large, bright, easily visible open cluster. I didn't notice any dense granularity--maybe the moon-glow in the...
Observation Notes: These 2 galaxies are impressive. They were an amazing treat that fit into the same view together--big and bright. M81 was the larger, brighter, and wider of the two galaxies, elongated north to south. It had a strongly condensed nucleus. It seemed to have a sharper edge...

Messier 103

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Sketch of Messier 103 - 37.5XClick image for larger version. Sketch of Messier 103 - 75XClick image for larger version. Observation Notes: M103 was pretty simple to find. It was 1° east of Ruchbah in Cassiopeia. It's pretty small compared to some of the recent Messier clusters I've viewed--about 5'...

Messier 52

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Observation Notes: A storm had blown out earlier in the afternoon, and bursts of spontaneously condensing rain were blowing overhead at odd intervals. But I wanted to see these northern clusters before they dissappeared for the season. So I clothed the scope in towels over the eyepiece, aperture, and...

Something Turquoise Sails North

Article written for the Coconino Astronomical Society, February 2005 Newsletter Back in elementary school, I remember dwelling on books with beautiful pictures of Halley's Comet. Sweeping by every 76 years, seeing it was a once-in-a-lifetime event (or twice if you're born at the right time I suppose). According to those...

Messier 46 and NGC 2438

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Observation Notes: This is a dense cluster with a granular base of stars. It was a rough circle. On the north side, there was a small round patch of nebulosity about 2'-3' in diameter. The body of M46 seemed to be about 22' in diameter, but not particularly concentrated...

Messier 47 and NGC 2423

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Observation Notes: M47 is a wide open cluster with a bright orange star on its northeast side. To the north is a smaller, less prominent cluster (NGC 2423) that has a triangular asterism within it. The shape of M47 is irregular. The brightest stars are scattered randomly. There is...

Messier 93

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Observation Notes: This is a triangular arrow shaped cluster with its tip pointing southwest. This southwest tip hosts one orange and one yellow star. In the center lies a trapezium-like arrangement of stars. The main body appears to be 16' in diameter. The brightest neighboring star lies 30' to...

Messier 79

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Observation Notes: This globular cluster appeared circular and about 2.5' in diameter. It was condensed toward the center, but not strongly. There may be a slight elongation north-northwest to south-southeast. There were a few orange and yellow stars in the field. Seeing wasn't great, but at 240X, I could...
Observation Notes: These three galaxies were kind enough to fit in the field of view together. The two galaxies on the north side, M105 and NGC 3384 appeared about 10' apart, nucleus to nucleus. Their nucleii were softly stellar in appearance. M105 appeared basically circular and the brighter of...

Messier 44 - The Beehive Cluster

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Observation Notes: This is a bright, bold, wide-open, beautiful cluster. The stars fill the view and the brightest like to form triangular trios. The colors are a brilliant yellow, blue and white. "The Beehive" seems like a very appropriate name. Within the view, there didn't appear to be any...

Messier 78

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Click image for larger version. The above sketch is an update to the original to clean it up and update formatting. The original is shown below. Observation Notes: This appeared as a cup-shaped nebula surrounding two stars which are aligned north to south. The arrangement looks like two vessels plowing...

Messier 35 and NGC 2158

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Sketch of Messier 35 and NGC 2158 Click for larger version. Observation Notes: This cluster is nice and resolvable at low power. As with M37 and M38, it has a bright central star--orange in color. Some yellow and blue stars to the north and east spiced up the color...

Messier 37

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Observation Notes: Hoo-boy! This is a dense cluster. It had a roughly triangular shape, trisected by dark lanes focusing on a bright yellow-orange central star. It was very stunning to look at. I was really struggling with how to sketch it. Plotting star positions wasn't giving the feel for...

Messier 36

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Observation Notes: Messier 36 was loaded with quite a few close doubles. The brightest stars seemed to congregate on the south side, with a bright yellow field star on the south-southeast end of the view. The cluster was nestled within a finely-grained backdrop of Milky Way stars. The color...

Belt of Venus over Flagstaff

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Seeing as I've named this place The Belt of Venus I figured I should at least get a picture of the phenomenon. So I drove up Mars Hill a couple days ago at sunset, parked just outside the entrance to Lowell Observatory, faced east and got this shot--...

The Cerulean Arc

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