This edition has us visiting Cassiopeia once again along with a stoppage in Perseus and finally Aries for our northern targets. The southern portion of the challenge takes us to Sculptor and Phoenix. I do hope you enjoy adding these objects to your observing plans, and that you find something new that you have never visited before. But visiting an old friend can also be a relaxing thing to do from time to time. So let’s get out there and do some observing. I wish you good luck with your observing in November and hope that you will report your results for these objects here, whether you are solely a visual observer, or perhaps a sketcher, or a devout imager. We like it all here and always enjoy reading of your night sky exploits.
[Northern Celestial Hemisphere]
Collinder 463 (Cassiopeia, open cluster, mag=5.7, size=57.0’, class= III2p):
This cluster is part of the Collinder catalogue published in 1931 by Swedish astronomer Per Collinder, which contains 452 open clusters, 11 globular clusters, six asterisms, one stellar moving group, and one stellar association. It is located just over 8° north of mag 3.8 Epsilon Cassiopeiae (Segin), sitting inside of a rhombus of four stars of 4th and 5th magnitude (40, 42, 48 and 50 Cas).
Cr 463 is a large and spread out collection of 8th to 12th mag stars that is not significantly detached from the overall stellar field, but still is an interesting collection of stars. Depending upon the source I have seen its size listed as large as 57.0’ in diameter. Based on sky quality and
As an aside here, John Herschel thought that the star 50 Cas was nebulous in nature and it found its way into the catalogue as
The famous “Little Dumbbell Nebula” was discovered in 1780 by
Located in the far western portion of Perseus, almost 1° NNW of mag 4.1 Phi Persei, it is fairly large for a planetary nebula. It is bipolar
This is the brightest galaxy within the small zodiacal constellation of Aries, which is Latin for “ram”, and has represented this creature since Babylonian times. Our target object is also found in the Arp Catalogue of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 78, representing the class of a spiral with a small high surface brightness companion. This small companion is the elliptical
[Southern Celestial Hemisphere]
This infamous galaxy is known by various nicknames, such as the Silver Dollar or Silver Coin Galaxy, Sculptor Galaxy, or Caroline’s Galaxy. This is the only galaxy that Caroline Herschel discovered, doing so in 1783 with her 4.2 inch sweeper telescope that her brother William built for her. During one of his observations of this object he wrote, "On looking at the nebula a long while the suspicion of its consisting of stars grows stronger as it begins to put on a faintly mottled appearance."
Situated just south of the Cetus-Sculptor border, it is located just over 7° south of bright 2.0 magnitude Beta Ceti (Diphda). This large object is one of the most prominent galaxies in the sky for the amateur observer to behold. Significantly inclined to our line of sight, it presents a large elongated oval glow. It can often seem to be of uneven illumination because of extensive dark lanes, which give it the mottled appearance described by William Herschel. From darker locations it can be glimpsed in binoculars and even optical finder scopes. Though more of a southern object even observers at mid-northern latitudes, with a decently low southern horizon, can get excellent views of this beauty. After all, it was discovered from the U.K.! This is magnificently bright for a galaxy and one well worth tracking down in the sky.
The only globular cluster in the constellation of Sculptor is easily located just over 1.5° southeast of
Fairly bright and large, it can appear grainy to the eye in smaller apertures, hinting at possible resolution of some of its members. And in moderate apertures (8 to 12 inch) one may be able to resolve several stars across the face of its apparent disk. As a class 10 cluster, its core is not significantly compressed and only shows some weak concentration. This cluster being so close to bright
ESO 245-9 (Phoenix, open cluster, mag=9.3, size=14.0’, class=III1p):
This cluster is one of several open cluster discoveries during a study by the European Southern Observatory sites. Located about 21’ north of the mag 4.4 star Psi Phoenicis, it is a bit sparse in appearance, with its brightest member being mag 8.1 HD 11768 at its eastern edge. With about 15 stars ranging from the brightest down into the 13th magnitude range (plus even dimmer ones), it is not a showpiece nor is it significantly detached from the general field. But it can reveal a vague cluster-like appearance, particularly with a bit of