September Sky Challenges

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Published on: September 10, 2012

Astronomers and Star Gazers need a challenge when observing. Novices can be easily overwhelmed by long lists of challenging objects. Expert observers can be so focused on their projects, they easily can ignore the challenge provided by observing with different instruments.

By presenting three objects in each of several different groups, the hope is to provide all observers, no matter what their experience level, no matter what type of instruments they have access to, challenging objects to observe. There is even a group for the one instrument we are all born with, the naked-eye. Astrophotographers and astroimagers are not ignored here, either.

No matter what your experience, no matter what you use to observe, get outside and “Keep looking up!”

September’s Sky Challenges

Naked-Eye Challenges

  • Galilean Moons of Jupiter
  • M13
  • Alfirk and Altais

Binocular Challenges

  • δ Cephei
  • NGC 752
  • M31

Small Telescope Challenges

    For 2″ to 6″ telescopes:

  • M103, an open cluster of about 25 stars in Cassiopeia
  • NGC 891, an edge-on, type SA(s)b spiral galaxy in Andromeda
  • M76, a planetary nebula, known as the “Little Dumbbell”, in Perseus

Medium Telescope Challenges

    For 8″ to 14″ telescopes:

  • Any of the Uranian moons (Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon
  • M72, a globular cluster in Aquarius
  • NGC 7662, a planetary nebula in Andromeda, known as the “Blue Snowball”

Large Telescope Challenges

    For 16″ and larger telescopes:

  • NGC 7293, a planetary nebula, known as the “Helix Nebula”, in Aquarius
  • NGC 7320, a SA(s)d type spiral galaxy in Stephan’s Quintet, in Pegasus
  • IC 289, a planetary nebula in Cassiopeia

Urban Skies Observing Challenges

  • M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, a type SA(s)cd spiral galaxy
  • Variations in Mira’s Brightness
  • Uranus

Astrophotography/Imaging Challenges

  • Novice: Any Solar System Object
  • Intermediate: Any wide field Image
  • Expert: Any Nebula

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