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    Default Targets near the Southern Cross?



    I have a good view of the Southern Cross with Hadar and Rigil from my balcony in Sao Paulo - and I use it for a reference for DSOs.

    I have been able to locate the Eta Carina nebula, Omega Centauri cluster, the more obvious jewel box cluster, the Southern Pleiades, and the gem cluster.
    So far, no luck with galaxies like Centaurus A.

    Any suggestions on other interesting targets close to the cross?

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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    Here are a few targets I have looked at in and around the Southern Cross(Crux).

    Alpha Centauri(Rigel Kentaurus) is a double star to split.
    A crux(part of the southern cross) is another double star to split.
    Just below the cross in the constellation of Musca are two nice globular clusters to find, C105 and C108(both at Mag 7 so may be tough in your LP).

    Depending on how low you can see there is also TUC47 and the nearby Tarantula nebula to be seen.
    Also in and around Carina are many star clusters, always a good tour in my opinion.

    Good luck and enjoy the wonderful Southern skies in winter.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    I'll second what Clinton said about 47 Tucanae and Alpha Centauri. Both are very nice easy targets to find and impressive sights to see. The Alpha Centauri double is very easy to split IMO, and 47 Tucanae is as impressive as the Omega cluster.

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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    Another couple you could try is the blue planetary, another nice galaxy is ngc4945 edge on spiral not far from omega centauri. Further away I'd try the triffid , lagoon and omega nebulas - messier numbers 20, 8 and 17.
    I think there a bit higher from you location and therefore might be easier to see (from what I could see the southern cross is quite low at you locale )
    Last edited by garin; 09-04-2015 at 05:28 AM.
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    In addition to what has been mentioned, when I observed from semi-dark location at about 19N latitude with my 5 inch during a few trips to Mexico, I found NGC 3532 (Pincushion Cluster) east of Eta Carinae quite nice. I also enjoyed the globular NGC 5286 right next to the star M Centauri southeast of Omega Centauri. Of course NGC 5128 (Centaurus-A) is great if you can see it and a little north of that another galaxy NGC 5102 next to Iota Centauri was a nice sliver of light in the 5 inch as well. Good luck Joao, I have fond memories of the southern treats I could see during my few trips.
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    If skies are dark enough the coalsack dark nebula (C99) is pretty cool. Nice through binoculars too.
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    Wow, I kind of envy you to have such a nice view.
    This was my southern sky back in Colombia:

    Southern Skies Over Bogotá | Astronomy Sketch of the Day

    My favorite was Eta Carinae nebula (NGC 3372) along with NGC3293 in my Binoculars FOV. Great Nebula in Carina | Astronomy Sketch of the Day
    Have you seen the Wishing well cluster (NGC3532)...it is simply beautiful even from light polluted skies.
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    Quote Originally Posted by kingclinton View Post
    Depending on how low you can see there is also TUC47 and the nearby Tarantula nebula to be seen.


    Cheers
    If you can see Tarantula and 47 TUC, you can spend hours exploring the areas around these 2 objects as they fall within or close the Large Magellanic cloud and Small Magellanic cloud respectively..

    LMC in particular has dozens of open and globular clusters and can provide hours of viewing just in its self..

    cheers
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    One of my favorite all time views in the entire sky is Beta Crux, which has a wonderful carbon star in the in the same telescope field, creating one of the finest optical double stars in the sky. The Beta Crux's intense blue white color makes the red in the carbon star look like the glowing end of a cigarette.
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    Default Re: Targets near the Southern Cross?

    The area around the Southern Cross is very, very. It is an area that makes for a lovely project to send a long, slow observing session. And it does not matter if you only have binoculars or a 30" dob, there is plenty for everyone.

    Binos and rich field scopes: Oh, yeah baby! Shagabelic! Where binos have it over telescopes is their low magnification and wide field that gives a highly concentrated image seen with both eyes. The field of view of most scopes is just too narrow and so much is missed as a result. I love this area with binos and small fast refractors. With these you get to see the wider picture of what surrounds the singularly impressive DSO's.

    * Did you know of the mottled dark nebulosity that surrounds Omega Centauri?

    * Or how about just how porous The Coal Sack really is, revealing itself as a wavy curtain of material that is riddled with clusters and colourful starts, instead of a solid dark featureless mass.

    * Just how massive Eta Carina REALLY is?

    * Binos and rich field scopes are also the only way to see The Dark Doodad in Musca - a column of dark nebulosity that extends over several degrees. Photos show the Dark Doodad, but in a telescope it is invisible.

    * Surrounding Alpha and Beta Centauri, this area is crammed with open clusters that litter the mottled background Milky Way. You need to be patient here. Rush and you will only see Alpha and Beta. Take your time and you will be richly rewarded.

    Below are a couple of sketches I did using a 4" f/5 refractor. The first is of Omega Centauri and surrounds. Yes it is stunning in a big scope, but in a small scope or binos, man-o-man, just sensational. The second is of the eastern edge of the Southern Cross encompassing the western edge of the Coal Sack. The bright star is Beta Cruix (Mimosa), and the cluster is the Jewel Box. I was totally surprised by the detail I could see in the Coal Sack, and that I was able to spot a few additional open clusters decorating the scene.

    Attachment 150366 , Attachment 150367

    Telescopes: This area is exceptional for the variety of DSO's on offer. Galaxies, open and globular clusters, planetary nebula, emission nebulae, you name it, it's there!

    * The Blue Planetary, NGC 3918 - tiny but very intense and VERY blue! One of the very few nebulae that actually shows colour. It's size can make it difficult to spot at first, so a blinking paddle is a very effective tool to spot it.

    * The galaxy 4945 has already been mentioned - it really is a spectacular object on its own, but with Omega Centauri and Centaurs A in the same constellation, this gorgeous and bright galaxy is all but forgotten.

    * Planetary Nebula NGC 5189 in Musca - The Spiral Nebula is sometimes confused with being a gravitationally distorted galaxy.

    * The Running Chicken nebula, IC 2944, in Centaurus. I honestly cannot see any chicken here... This is an intense nebula. If it was in a less crowded area of the sky it would be a highlight object in its own right.

    * Centaurus A galaxy. One tricky bugger it can be to find despite its size. Really only a dark sky object. Under a dark sky it is actually visible in a 30mm finderscope! Like all galaxies, the larger the aperture the more detail can be seen. The Hamburger galaxy is quite extraordinary its resemblance to its namesake food.

    * M83 galaxy. If you are in this area, M83 is well worth finding. Also visible in a 30mm finder under a dark sky, it is one of the easiest galaxies to show its arms. M83 also has OIII regions that can be spotted using an OIII filter - aperture is key though for this.

    * Omega Centauri. Yes, mentioned many times already. BUT, there is something very special that is ONLY seen in a scope - The Eye of Omega! The Eye is a small puff of gas and dust that just happens to sit in front of and close to the centre of the giant globular cluster. Easy to see The Eye of Omega in an 8" scope. If you rush your observation of Omega you will miss The Eye. But once you've seen it, you can't not see it any more!

    Below is my sketch of Omega Centauri done from my home in Sydney using a 17.5" scope.

    Attachment 150365

    I hope this gives you all some inspiration to take your time in exploring this area of the sky, no matter what scope or binoculars you have.

    Alex.
    Last edited by mental4astro; 02-14-2017 at 12:52 PM.

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