All About Space

Deep sky challenge

The skies are getting darker now as we head towards the equinox, giving astronomer­s longer to enjoy the deep sky


During late August and September, the Great Square of Pegasus swings into view. Although the inside of the ‘square’ seems rather barren, it can be a good test of how clear your skies are – in other words, how much light pollution you suffer from. If you can see seven or more stars with the naked eye, you’re doing quite well. The constellat­ion of Pegasus is attached, as it were, to the neighbouri­ng constellat­ion of Andromeda, which is home to the famous spiral galaxy of the same name.

There’s also another galaxy to see that’s not too far away, but due to its low surface brightness, it’s a much more challengin­g object. A nice open star cluster can be found in this region, too, which was discovered by Caroline Herschel – it’s often overlooked, so make some time for it. There’s a planetary nebula to seek out as well, known as the Blue Snowball, along with a couple of globular star clusters for you to pick out. All in all, it’s a great region of the sky to visit with a telescope.

1 Messier 2

Binoculars or a small telescope will show this globular cluster as a fuzzy ‘star’. A larger telescope will start to resolve many of the individual stars in the cluster.

2 Messier 15

Slightly brighter than

Messier 2, this globular star cluster is one of the oldest known clusters, and will look great in telescopes with an aperture of six inches or larger.

3 The Blue Snowball

This planetary nebula looks like a star with some nebulosity around it in a small telescope. A larger scope will show a slightly bluish disc.

4 Great Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31)

The core of M31 is a fuzzy blob in a small telescope, while larger instrument­s will reveal its spiral structure. Messier 32 and NGC 205 are found nearby.

5 The Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33)

A difficult object to spot in a small telescope due to it being faint and spread out, this lovely face-on spiral looks great in astrophoto­graphy images.

“It’s a great region of the sky to visit with a telescope”

 ??  ?? Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31)
Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31)
 ??  ?? Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33)
Triangulum Galaxy (Messier 33)
 ??  ?? Messier 15 5 4 3
Messier 15 5 4 3

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