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My all-time favorite beginner list for spring & summer.

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#1 TheChosen

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 05:31 PM

I've been wanting to this for a long time for many reasons.

  • To help beginners choose some nice and impressive targets for their new bought telescope.
  • I feel there are too many astronomical equipment videos, not enough astronomical observation videos out there. It was time to fix that.
  • Simply put together a list of my all-time favorite easy objects and keep it relatively short. 

Link to the video:

 

Here it goes:

  • M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy): This grand design spiral galaxy is a majestic sight, with sweeping spiral arms like our Milky Way but even more tightly wound. It boasts a prominent central core and stretches roughly 76,900 light-years across. Despite its impressive size, M51 is estimated to be younger than our galaxy, clocking in at around 31 million light-years from Earth.
  • M81 & M82 (Bode's Galaxy & Cigar Galaxy): Get ready for a cosmic dance! These interacting galaxies, M81 (Bode's Galaxy) and M82 (Cigar Galaxy), are locked in a gravitational embrace that triggers bursts of star formation. The spiral M81 is a heavyweight, spanning about 150,000 light-years, and resides roughly 12 million light-years away. Its partner, the irregular M82, is smaller at around 65,000 light-years wide and lies about 36 million light-years distant.
  • Leo Triplet (M65, M66, & NGC 3628): This close-knit group of galaxies showcases the variety of galactic forms. The spiral M65 is a dazzling pinwheel around 80,000 light-years wide, and the barred spiral M66 boasts a central dust lane and measures roughly 150,000 light-years across. Both reside around 35 million light-years away. Completing the trio is the irregular NGC 3628, a more chaotic collection of stars with an estimated diameter of 30,000 light-years.
  • M13 (Hercules Globular Cluster): Journey to a dazzling city of stars! M13 is a giant globular cluster, a densely packed sphere of hundreds of thousands of stars, roughly 150 light-years across. This sparkling metropolis is about 25,000 light-years away.
  • M17 (Swan Nebula): Dive into a vibrant stellar nursery! M17, the Swan Nebula, is an emission nebula, a glowing cloud of gas and dust where young, hot stars are born. This colorful incubator stretches roughly 5 light-years across and lies about 5,000 light-years away.
  • M27 (Dumbbell Nebula): Witness the breathtaking final act of a star! M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, is a planetary nebula, an expanding shell of gas and dust ejected by a dying star. This dramatic shroud is roughly 0.7 light-years across (at its widest point) and is estimated to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old, a mere blink in cosmic time. It resides about 1,250 light-years from Earth.
  • M11 (Wild Duck Cluster): Take flight with a flock of young stars! M11, the Wild Duck Cluster, is an open cluster, a loose gathering of a few thousand stars, easily visible in binoculars. Nicknamed for its resemblance to a flurry of ducks in flight, it spans roughly 28 light-years across and is about 6,000 light-years away.
  • M57 (Ring Nebula): Marvel at a perfect cosmic ring! M57, the Ring Nebula, is another planetary nebula, but unlike the Dumbbell, it boasts a distinct ring shape. This celestial bubble is roughly one light-year in diameter and is estimated to be around 6,000 to 8,000 years old. It lies approximately 2,300 light-years from Earth.
  • Albireo: Behold a dazzling dance of stars! Albireo is not a single star, but a beautiful double star system. Two stars of contrasting colors, a dazzling blue and a warm yellow, appear close together in a small telescope. However, they are actually quite far apart within the system, separated by hundreds of times the Earth-Sun distance. Their alignment from our perspective creates the captivating double-star view. Albireo is part of the Cygnus constellation and resides about 390 light-years away.

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#2 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 06:24 PM

Good list, I might add M44 for spring depending on how early into spring you want to go.



#3 TheChosen

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 06:57 PM

Good list, I might add M44 for spring depending on how early into spring you want to go.

I decided to put that one on my Autumn / Winter list .. as it was a bit short .. and the Spring / Summer was a bit long :)



#4 N3p

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 07:29 PM

It's a list of great objects, totally. The wild duck cluster is one of my favorite clusters.

 

There are a lot of very nice NGC clusters too, fainter but equally beautiful. Trying all the NGCs I could from the atlas and still do it, between the brightest objects!

 

The first time I saw the Omega Nebula, in fact during the same observation I saw: Wild duck, Eagle, Omega, The star cloud, M25, M28, Trifid and Lagoon for the first time. (plus many more clusters)

 

That must have been my most memorable observation after a couple of months of experience.

 

There was also a rare Aurora Borealis at the same time, I was freaking out in the middle of the field. What great memories... smile.gif


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#5 WillR

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Posted 27 May 2024 - 08:23 PM

Great list! I add a few. M8, M3, M5, and M7 if you have a low enough horizon. A few other doubles maybe? Love 24 Comae. Izar in Bootes. Raselgethi. Off the top of my head.


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#6 Murray1967

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 04:31 AM

Thank you for this list - we are newbies and there have been few clear nights recently - that coupled with being a 54N so it doesn’t get dark to very late. I agree on the number of equipment videos - that is the least interesting aspect of the hobby for me.

Last night was lovely - we looked at many of the objects you recommended but the highlight was definitely the Ring Nebula and Alberio. It got just dark enough to see the faint outline of the Milky Way before the moon brightened the sky a tad too much. I can’t get enough of the Hercules Cluster and last night is was crystal clear and very beautiful.
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#7 TheChosen

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 06:32 AM

Great list! I add a few. M8, M3, M5, and M7 if you have a low enough horizon. A few other doubles maybe? Love 24 Comae. Izar in Bootes. Raselgethi. Off the top of my head.

M3 and M5 is on my Autumn/Winter list :) . Also I had to keep the list relatively small.. so  it was very tough eliminating some of the objects that I love but didn't quite make it.



#8 WillR

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 08:04 AM

M3 and M5 is on my Autumn/Winter list smile.gif . Also I had to keep the list relatively small.. so  it was very tough eliminating some of the objects that I love but didn't quite make it.

Hmmm, I would consider both M3 and M5 spring targets. M3 best in April and May, and M5 in May and June.


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#9 TheChosen

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Posted 28 May 2024 - 08:10 AM

Hmmm, I would consider both M3 and M5 spring targets. M3 best in April and May, and M5 in May and June.

Ideally , yes you are right.. but I needed some great globular clusters for my Autumn/Winter recommendations... they are already nicely visible during February.


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#10 LoudounStargazer22

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Posted 30 May 2024 - 08:51 PM

Albireo is next on my list. Can't wait to find it



#11 Tony Flanders

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Posted 31 May 2024 - 04:51 AM

Ideally , yes you are right.. but I needed some great globular clusters for my Autumn/Winter recommendations... they are already nicely visible during February.

It depends how late you stay up.

 

Frankly, I don't see any benefit to dividing the year into two pieces. One piece is irreproachable, and four also works well.

 

There's also no point in pretending that object types are balanced across seasons. Quite the contrary. Globular clusters are overwhelmingly concentrated in a very narrow range of RA, and bright, nearby open clusters are heavily concentrated in a very different range of RA.




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