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Small Wonders

Tom T's Small Wonders

Welcome to the Small Wonders Archive.

Small Wonders is an observing column oriented towards the beginning to intermediate observer and designed to be used in the field. It differs from typical observing columns in a number of ways:
  • A range of targets are presented - most articles have something to offer nearly every aperture and observing skill
  • Complete finder charts are displayed with the target list - from widefield to eyepiece
  • DSS images are displayed for every target to help the observer identify the field
  • It's to available readers free of charge
  • Readers are invited (via the various observing and photography forums or e-mail) to contribute their sketches, images and observations. Contribution calls are normally posted 2-4 weeks in advance of each article.
Each article is provided in both HTML and PDF format, feel free to print off any articles that interest you. Please do not redistribute the PDF's electronically, but feel free to refer people to the site, or hand out print copies as you like.

I'd like to take a minute to thank all the people who have contributed to Small Wonders - the sketchers, observers, photographers, and readers who have taken the time to give their input. There have been many, and I thank you for your time. The articles wouldn't be nearly as good without your contributions. A special thanks goes to Allister St. Claire for encouraging the series of articles and for providing feedback to help set the tone, Collin Smith for his editorial assistance, Olivier Biot for his assistance in creating the PDF's, Marcin Siudzinski for the Polish translations, Steed Joy for the Chinese translations, Emre Evren for the Turkish translations, Pierre Henrotay for the French translations, Roman Bakay for the Russian translations, Chris Mariott for creating SkyMap Pro (and graciously allowing me the use of it for creating these articles), and Mike Bieler and the owners of Astronomics for graciously sponsoring CN.

Articles are arranged by their initial publication / posting dates. Please note that after the initial few articles CN moved to a new format - thus some of the older articles may have some formatting issues. If you find any errors, please contact me and I will get them fixed.

Chinese translations by Steed Joy are now available.

Polish translations by Marcin Siudzinski are now available on the 1st ever Polish equipment and astronomy website:Astronoce (en: AstroNights) (you may have to hunt a bit).

Turkish translations by Emre Evren are now available.

French translations by Pierre Henrotay are now available.
Russian translations by Roman Bakay are now available.

Please e-mail me at tomt@cloudynights.com with your questions, comments, observations, photos and sketches. Also feel free to e-mail me if you're interested in translating any or all of the SW series into a different language.

Thank you for visiting.

---Tom Trusock

Live from NEAF!

Apr 06 2011 08:59 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

Join Tom T and the rest of the CN crew for this special weekend of webcasts from the worlds largest astronomy show.

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Small Wonders: Observing the Hubble Sequence in the Fall Northern Sky

Sep 12 2009 10:46 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

After reading The Day We Found the Universe (Marcia Bartusiak), I got to thinking about Hubble's galactic classification scheme. How much, exactly, can be seen by a motivated modern amateur?

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Small Wonders: Hercules

Jun 30 2009 09:56 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

Dragging forth the summer Milky Way, legendary strongman Hercules is yet another boundary constellation for the summer season. His toes are dipped in the stream of our galaxy, his head is firm in the depths of space. Hercules is populated by a dizzying array of targets, many extra-galactic in nature. Galaxy clusters abound and there are three hickson Objects for the aficionado. There are a smattering of nice galaxies, some planetary nebulae and of course a few very nice globular clusters.

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Small Wonders: Ophiuchus

Jun 09 2009 08:34 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

This massive constellation culminates around midnight on June 12th and for me, has always been the harbinger of Summer.

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Small Wonders: Quick Peeks - Sculptor

Jan 01 2009 01:02 PM | Tom T in Small Wonders

It's time for a quick peek at the southern sky...

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Small Wonders: Quick Peeks - Cetus

Dec 19 2008 10:51 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

No time for observing? Nonsense. There's always time for a quick peek.

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Small Wonders: Quick Peeks - Aquarius

Oct 13 2008 06:34 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

No time for observing? Nonsense! There's always time to take a quick peek

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Small Wonders: Quick Peeks - Cepheus

Oct 01 2008 02:10 PM | Tom T in Small Wonders

No time for observing? Nonsense. Grab that small scope or those binoculars and join me for a couple of Quick Peeks in Cepheus.

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SW: Deep Virgo - Markarian's Chain

Apr 13 2008 07:20 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

Deep in the heart of one of the largest structures in the observable universe lies an improbable chain of potentially interacting galaxies...

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Small Wonders: Perseus

Nov 07 2007 06:19 AM | Tom T in Small Wonders

Perseus slew the gorgon Medusa and then (while riding Pegasus) rescued Andromeda - the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia - from Cetus. It's his story that we see overhead on these early winter evenings.

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