|PATH:||The Astronomy Connection Observing Targets December Messier Tour|
By: "Tony Cecce, Corning, NY"
This will be a fairly easy month on the tour. We will view two small, but bright globular clusters, two open star clusters, and the grandest galaxy in the sky along with it's two companions. All of these objects are possible to find in binoculars, most are fairly easy.
This is a small, bright globular cluster in Aquarius. To find it
in binoculars look for a fuzzy star in a star poor field. A low power
telescope field will show a round fuzzy patch, brighter in the center and
fading to the edge, in a field with no other bright objects.
This globular cluster in Pegasus is very similar to M2 in size and
brightness, except it is surrounded by several bright stars. Fairly easy
to find in binoculars but the best view is through a telescope at medium
to high power.
This galactic cluster is a small, sparse group of stars in Cygnus.
It appears as a small fuzzy patch amongst a rich star field in binoculars.
A telescope will easily resolve the members of this cluster. The shape
of the cluster reminds me of the Pleiades as viewed through binoculars.
Dark skies will allow this large, bright cluster in Cygnus to be
seen with the naked eye as a hazy patch of light. Binoculars easily
resolve this cluster into it's bright and widely scattered members, and
provide a better view than can be seen with most telescopes.
This is the famous Andomeda Galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor,
and the largest, brightest galaxy to be seen in the nothern sky. The
ability to see M31 with the naked eye provides a good test of the
darkness of your skies. M31 is so large that binoculars provide the best
view, allowing the entire galaxy to be seen in one field of view. Look
for an elongated patch of light, with a bright, round central core.
This is an eliptical companion galaxy to M31. Through a telescope
look for a slightly oval ball of fuzz in the same low power field as the
core of M31. M32 is very possible to find in binoculars as a star like
point of light.
M110 - Another eliptical companion galaxy to M31, lying on the opposite
side of the core as M32. Through a telescope look for a large, oval
patch of light. Although M110 is as bright as M32 it is much larger
and thus has a lower surface brightness making it a difficult object
in light polluted skies. M110 is a very difficult binocular object
requiring dark transparent skies, and trained eyes to have a chance
at finding it.
Last Month - M27, M30, M56, M57, M71, M72, M73 Next Month - M33, M34, M52, M74, M76, M77, M103 Revision 11/95, A.J. Cecce