For our late April West Hawaii Astronomy Club star party I have put together a short observing list. This in my effort to expand our skills and knowledge of the sky.
The best upcoming weekend for a star party is May 4th, the same day as new Moon. The 4th is also AstroDay Hilo and many members including myself will be busy. Thus our next new Moon star party will be Saturday, April 27th. With a last quarter Moon rising a little before 2am it is a nice night for a star party with dark skies until long after midnight.
Ten objects, from easy to a few more challenging targets, something for everyone. None of these are Messier objects, a couple are from catalogs you may have never heard of. Trust me in that there are a few nice surprises to be found here…
RA: 7h 18′ Dec: 24° 57′ S Mag: 4.1 Open cluster in CMa
Centered on the bright star Tau CMa
RA: 7h 16′ Dec: 23° 19’S Mag:4.8 Binary star in CMa
Pan north of NGC2362 a few fields or about 1° north and a touch west, called the Winter Alberio
RA: 12h 36′ Dec: 12° 1’S Mag:7 Asterism in Crv
Very bright, easy to find, just one degree SW of M104, look for a triangle within a triangle
RA: 12h 24 Dec: 18° 47’S Mag:10 Planetary nebula in Crv
RA: 12h 39′ Dec: 60° 36’S Mag 10.1 open cluster in Cru
Large, try binoculars or lowest power, very rich!
RA: 12h 47′ Dec: 59° 42’S Mag: 8.4-9.8 Carbon star in Cru
Put Mimosa in the field, put in an eyepiece for about 100x and look 2′ W of Mimosa, if needed put Mimosa just out of the field of view to cut the glare
RA: 8h 34′ Dec: 44° 24’S Mag: 5.9 Open cluster in Vela
Large, bright, use lowest power
RA: 10h 43′ Dec: 59° 32’S Mag: 5.5 Open Cluster in Car
Part of the Eta Carina nebula complex, 19′ NW of Eta Carina
RA: 11h 5′ Dec: 58° 46’S Mag:3 Open cluster in Car
Big, bright, use lowest power
You may notice a lot of seemingly odd catalog designations… Pismis, Trumpler, Melotte… Just to show that there is a lot to discover beyond the Messier and NGC catalogs.
A couple hints… All of these objects are to the south, setup your telescope to be comfortable looking south. Most of these will not be in your telescopes little computer if you use GOTO. Learn how to enter manual RA and Dec coordinates.
All of these objects should be visible in the early to mid-evening on April 27th. Those in Canis Major should be viewed first, while the last are in Crux which rises around 7pm and culminates around 10pm.
The dimmest objects listed here are tenth magnitude, within easy reach of a six inch telescope. If you do not have a six inch, check out the view in someone else’s telescope. The brightest object here does not even need a telescope, indeed it is too large to fit in the field of view.
Today Mercury is passing through maximum elongation, the furthest it will rise above the rising Sun in the dawn sky. After today the planet will slide back into the Sun’s glare headed for superior conjunction on May 21st.
This is the best apparition of the year, morning or evening, with the planet over 27° from the Sun.Continue reading “Mercury at Maximum Elongation”
A very nice fogbow that appeared one morning on the way to work on the mauna. There was also a nice glimpse of the fresh snow further up. Click on the image for full size vividness…
I have noted a tendency among my fellow observers in our little local club… To observe the same objects over and over.
These are the big, bright, showpiece objects that we observe repeatedly. You know the ones… the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Omega Centauri, Eta Carina, Jewelbox, Etc.
I too visit old favorites in the night, stopping by to enjoy the beauty. I will also make it a point to view some new objects each observing session, something I have not seen before. Our universe has more to offer, there are many beautiful sights to be had that are all too often overlooked.Continue reading “Beyond Messier”
This evening, April 8th will offer a beautiful view with Mars and slim crescent Moon located between the Pleiades and the larger Hyades star clusters.
The Moon will be a slim crescent, only 14% illuminated. Mars will be 5° north (to the right) of the Moon, shining at +1.5 magnitude. Above and below will be the bright star clusters.
A nice night at Kaʻohe last night for the members of the West Hawaii Asrtonomy Club. As usual it was cloudy when we arrived, but cleared just after sunset leaving a very nice sky. While heavy dew shut most of us dawn after 11pm, we had several hours of very nice observing.
New Moon will occur today at 22:50HST.
This coming weekend, April 6th, offers an excellent dark night for observing. Get out and enjoy the dark!Continue reading “New Moon”