Monday, September 28, 2009

Pleiades, Great Orion Nebula, and 3 Star Clusters

A few nights ago, I went out to quickly do a little upward viewing. It was really cold for a late summer night, but I had to take advantage of the clear sky.

This session was started at about 3am, I had been up surfing the Net and decided that I should take a peek before bed. I'm glad I did! Orion was up in the sky. Using the planisphere that I purchased from Barnes and Noble, I quickly identified some objects to view and set after them.

The first was again the Pleiades, just because it grabs my attention being faintly visible to the naked eye, even in my light polluted neighborhood of Forest Hills, NY.

Soon after I saw that, there was a spot just below Orion's belt that needed investigating (M42), being the brightest nebula in the sky. What a beautiful sight!

I then headed to the 3 star clusters M36, M37 and M38 in Auriga, right under Capella. (Using the planisphere, I determined that I could get to Capella by making a bee line from Rigel in Orion, through its sister star Bellatrix, also in Orion.) The faint fuzzies were fuzzier than ever, but I did see them.

After that night I was really starting to feel like I could definitely get the hang of this, and that I just needed to take it easy and go step by step.

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