|PATH:||The Astronomy Connection Observing Targets March Messier Tour|
By: "Tony Cecce, Corning, NY"
This month we will look for 10 objects, 8 open clusters in the southern milky way and a pair of galaxies, all are within reach of binoculars. The open clusters are easy binocular targets and most are visible with the naked eye. M81 and M82 are difficult binocular targets that offer a stunning telescopic view.
This cluster in Canis Major is visible as a hazy patch to the
naked eye just below Sirius. M41 is resolvable in binoculars and
appears fairly loose in telescopes at low power.
This is a small fuzzy patch of light in Puppis, partially
resolvable in binoculars. The hardest part of finding this cluster in
binoculars is picking it out of a fairly rich region of the milky way.
Use low power to examine this cluster and the surrounding richness in
a telescope. Medium power provides a nice view of the cluster itself.
A bright cluster in Puppis, easily visible as a hazy patch to the
naked eye. Binoculars will show a large hazy patch with many stars
resolvable. Telescopes show a fairly loose cluster with stars of wide
variety of magnitudes.
This cluster is right next to M47 and is also visible to the
naked eye. In binoculars M46 appears as a large hazy patch with no
stars resolvable, giving a nice contrast to M47. In telescopes at
low powers this cluster evenly fills the eyepiece. While you are here
go to medium or high power and look for the planetary nebula NGC2438.
It will appear as a faint uneven ring, with a blue/green color.
An open cluster in Monoceros. This is a small hazy patch in
binoculars, partially resolvable. Like M93, the richness of the
surrounding field is the only difficulty in finding this object.
This is a fairly tight cluster at low power in a telescope.
Moving on to Hydra, we find another naked eye cluster. M48 is
a large fuzzy patch in binoculars, partially resolvable. Use low to
medium power in your telescope for a spectacular view.
In the southeast portion of Cancer is another open cluster,
barely visible as a fuzzy patch to the naked eye. Binoculars show
M67 as a large hazy patch of light, similar to M46. Use low power
to resolve this large, rich cluster in a telescope.
Known as the Praesepe or Beehive Cluster, this open cluster
is easily visible to the naked eye as a large, fuzzy patch bigger
than the moon. Binoculars or rich field telescopes provide the
best view of M44.
This pair of galaxies in Ursa Major are very possible to see in binoculars, they look like a pair of fuzzy stars. Both galaxies will fit into the same low power telescope field. M81 will appear as a large oval gray patch of light. M82 is a pencil like streak of light next to and perpendicular to the long axis of M81.
Last Month - M1, M35, M36, M37, M38, M42, M43, M45, M78, M79 Next Month - M40, M65, M66, M95, M96, M97, M105, M106, M108, M109 Revision 11/95, A.J. Cecce