As we head into March the minds of more than a few observers tend to drift to thoughts of galaxies. With winter turning into spring in the north and summer into autumn in the south, a large and rich swath of prime galaxy real estate is readying to take center stage.
Cutting a wide path from Centaurus through Hydra, Corvus, Crater and Sextans, it stretches into Leo with a significant concentration in Virgo that flows into Coma Berenices. On northward it enriches the fields of
Southern Celestial Hemisphere: NGC 3115 (Sextans):
Lenticular Galaxy, mag=8.6, size=7.2’x2.5’, SBr=11.5 mag/arcmin2
Now let’s swing south of the celestial equator for a couple of fine objects. Our fist one is an amazingly bright sliver of light that I think surprises many when they happen upon it. Located in the southern part of this dimmer constellation, it lies almost exactly halfway between and slightly north of a line between mag 5.1 Gamma and
Deep in the heart of winter here in the north, with its cold (sometimes brutally so) temperatures and sometimes crystal clear skies, the stars seem to shimmer like diamonds casually tossed onto a jeweler’s mat of black velvet. While this is a wonderful season to plunder the myriad of open clusters along outer portions of the galactic plane, there are also numerous planetary nebulae that dot the sky on these cold winter evenings. Our friends to the south, with their summer season in full bloom, also
Southern Celestial Hemisphere NGC 2438 (Puppis):
Planetary nebula, mag=10.8, size=73.0”x68.0”, SBr=10.8 mags/arcmin2
We now swing south of the celestial equator to Puppis. This constellation is one of three parts of what was once the most expansive constellation known in antiquity, Argo Navis. Listed by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy in his Almagest, it represented the ship used by Jason and the Argonauts in pursuit of the Golden Fleece. Over time,
Updated 02-01-2017 at 12:06 PM by KT4HX
First let me wish all a happy new year! The turn of a new year is always a time of reflection, giving us pause to look at where we’ve been, as well as the contemplation of where we may be going. Many see it as a time of renewal, for goal setting and “rebooting” ourselves, and our hobby is no exception. We can revel in what we observed and accomplished over the past year. Likewise we can be giddy with excitement and make plans for what we hope to observe and accomplish over the coming year.
Updated 01-13-2017 at 01:50 PM by KT4HX