Last Night Had It’s Hang-ups!

   Last evening was another opportunity to image the ISS as it passed over my part of the world. So I did!
   While out in the backyard I aimed my camera nearly straight up to get a picture of one of my favorite parts of the sky. This is near the star Altair in the constellation Aquila the Eagle. Near Altair is the ‘tiny’ constellation of Delphinus the Dolphin. Looking further upward from the kite or diamond-shape stars there is another smaller constellation, Sagitta the Arrow.
   If you find Sagitta use the two stars at the end as ‘pointer stars’ and they will direct your eyes to a neat little star cluster, Brocchi’s Custer, also known as the Coathanger Cluster.

   
   
   

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Mornings Have Hang Ups!

   Northern Hemisphere winter in addition to chilly or cold mornings may sort of warm you, at least in your mind. If you are outside looking at the sky, over the eastern horizon is a large triangular shape of three bright stars. One star each from three different constellations. Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, Vega in Lyra the Harp, and Altair in Aquila the Eagle. This is the asterism (star pattern but not a constellation) the Summer Triangle. There, warmer now?!
   So if you are outside checking out the Summer Triangle, or perhaps Mars and nearby Antares and you have an optical aid like binoculars or a lower power wide-field eyepiece in your telescope aim them and your eyes toward the star Altair. In dark enough skies you can make out the stars making up Sagitta the Arrow a few degrees away from Altair.
   As Altair is rising and with binoculars move the field of view up to the left until the stars of Sagitta fill the field of view. This small constellation, yes a constellation, could be used as a sort of pointer stars to look a few degrees away for a small open star cluster, Brocchi’s Cluster, or more commonly known as the ‘Coathanger Cluster’.
   So if mornings with stars like this don’t warm you up then wait a few months of Earth revolution and these same stars will be showing up in the warmer evening skies of Northern Hemisphere summer and fall.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

On A Great Monday Evening

   One of the benefits of having a high pressure system move in from the northwest is that it brings some relief from high temperatures and high dew points. The last week or so of hazy skies due to the high humidity has meant no nights with a clear sky – or at least one clear enough to try to take pictures of newly discovered and reported Nova Dephini 2013. Today with the passage of a cold front the morning skies were picture worthy as I posted this morning, and this evening was the same, with cooler temperatures, less humidity, and clear skies.

   Below is one of the pictures I took earlier. It is set to transition from a non-labeled picture to one with some objects labeled. It is an 8 second F3.5 picture that shows the summer triangle and two of the smaller constellations nearby. Nova Delphini 2013 is straight off the point of Sagitta the Arrow however it has apparently dimmed enough so that an 8 second time exposure is not enough to capture its light.
   To pause move the cursor over the pictures below to bring up the controls.

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   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

New Nova

Click on image to see full size

Click on image to see full size

   A new nova (isn’t that redundant??!!) has been discovered near the stars making up the kite-shaped small constellation of Delphinus the Dolphin, and the even smaller Sagitta the Arrow. As of earlier this morning it was reported to have reached 6th magnitude – just within what may be seen with the naked eye in dark skies. It should be visible with binoculars however, and since this is the initial sightings then it may brighten even more.
The nova is within the summer triangle asterism which for us is over the southeastern horizon at sunset. It is located within the area indicated by the red circle.
Current name or desigination is: PNVJ20233073+2046041
Here is a link to Wikipedia with a few more links there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNVJ20233073+2046041

   
   
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

ISS This Morning

dolphin   Earlier this morning the ISS, International Space station, flew over the midwest in a path that lasted 4 minutes and at its peak the ISS reached 85 degrees in altitude – nearly straight up. The path it followed took it from the southwest horizon across the summer triangle past the star Altair in Aquila the Eagle, towards the east northeast horizon.
   I was hoping to catch the ISS as it flew past some interesting groups of stars like the two small constellations of Sagitta the Arrow and Delphinus the Dolphin however the sky was too bright at this early hour for those stars to show up against the brighter background.
   In this sequence of images the sky at 0530 CDT was fairly bright and there were some high cirrus clouds but the ISS was as bright as Venus appears and was very easy to follow with my camera. The images are 2 second time exposures with an aperture setting of f4, and the lens was backed out to 18mm for a wide field of view.

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   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.