deep sky chal­lenge

The mighty Hunter has a horde of lit­tle-known trea­sures for you to track down and en­joy

All About Space - - Contents -

The well-known constellation of the Hunter hides some fan­tas­tic sights among its stars

As 2018 draws to a close nights are of­ten sparkling clear and still, and every­one en­joys set­ting up their tele­scope on the frosty grass and gaz­ing in awe and won­der at the green and grey bil­lows and swirls of the Orion Ne­bula. But Orion has much more to of­fer than just that 1,400-lightyears-dis­tant stel­lar nurs­ery. In and around it there are more sub­tle, more chal­leng­ing won­ders to hunt down.

This month we will help you point your tele­scope to­wards ob­jects fa­mous and ob­scure. Most ob­servers have heard of the Horse­head Ne­bula, but few have seen it – we’ll help you. We also have a beau­ti­ful dou­ble star, and a ne­bula that is as puz­zling as it is pretty.

When you head out to ob­serve the sky this month you’ll find that the price of a cold, clear night is a dra­matic re­duc­tion in your com­fort level. You’ll need to dress warmly and make sure you take reg­u­lar breaks from your eye­piece to move around and get warm again. If it has snowed dur­ing the day you might find that light pol­lu­tion is worse than nor­mal as the light com­ing off streetlights and se­cu­rity lights bounces up off the snow and into the sky. Us­ing a ne­bula fil­ter or get­ting as far from your town or city as pos­si­ble will help here.

Horse­head Ne­bula (Barnard 33)

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