Friday, December 5, 2008

Finally! A Clear Night

If you live in Northern Virginia and are sick of the cloudiness, I apologize. It was all my fault. How dare I buy a new telescope and hope for clear skies to actually enjoy the darn thing.

A couple nights ago the clouds parted, so I high-tailed it outside to do some star-gazing. I squeezed in a couple hours of observing time before the clouds rolled in.

Here are some pictures from my outing.

M34 (Open Cluster )is located in the constellation Perseus. M34 is 1,400 light years from Earth and contains around 100 stars.

M39 (Open Cluster) is located in the constellation Cygnus. The object is an estimated 800 Light Years from Earth.

M42 (The Great Orion Nebula) is the brightest diffuse nebula visible from Earth. Located on the sword of the constellation Orion, M42 is a favorite target for amateur and professional astronomers alike.

-For the amateur, M42 can make even the cheapest telescope look good.

-For the professional, M42 is one of the most active star-forming regions in the night sky.

@@ Weather permitting I will photograph the entire Orion Nebula some evening and post a special blog featuring M42's many treasures.

M45 (The Pleiades) is a prominent Fall and Winter open cluster that is located in the constellation Taurus. M45 is also called the "Seven Sisters" named for the seven hot blue-stars that dominate the cluster.

M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) is a favorite target of mine. Visible from early Fall to late Winter, this galaxy is a popular target of astronomers, because it is easy to find and is visible in even cheap, department store telescopes. Within proximity of M31 are M110 (looks like a bright-fuzzy star just left of M31) and M32 (faint galaxy to the lower-right of M31). You will see me include many pictures of M31 in my postings.

Hope you enjoy the images as much as I did taking them.