Want to find deep objects like nebulae or star clusters but don’t know where to start? Observing deep celestial bodies is not as complicated as one might think. You can watch them from the comfort of your garden or your place of residence, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on modern equipment.
deep celestial body (deep sky object, short for DSO) is an astronomical object located outside the solar system, composed of galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. Once you know the constellations of Orion or Andromeda, you will find that the deeper goals of this universe are not as hard to find as you once thought.
TIPS FOR DEVELOPING THE DIFFERENT OBJECTIVES
- First, you need to buy a stargazing book or star chart, or download a stargazing app to guide you to the sky.
Stellarium is a world leader in sky simulation software. There is a free version for computers and a paid version for phones.
- You can locate an object by “star jumping” from the recognizable features next to the object. Understanding the constellations will help you.
- Join a social media group for advice or join a local astronomy club. These communities often host observatories that you can join, even if you don’t have any equipment.
The Hanoi Amateur Astronomical Society (HAS) organizes an observation session for the community.
- Probably the biggest limiting factor in the journey of deep celestial observations is light pollution, an obstacle for all astronomers.
The full moon can easily obscure even the brightest deep objects. So keep an eye on the lunar cycle when planning your observations. Remember: the darker the sky, the easier faint objects are to spot. So try to go somewhere with dark skies if you can.
- You also need to consider the time of year. The rotation of the Earth and its annual journey around the Sun means that the objects you observe in winter will not be visible in summer. For example, the Orion Nebula is only visible in the Northern Hemisphere from November to February (next year).
Orion Nebula (M42). Source: Sun.org
- During a night of observation, let your eyes get used to the darkness. Make sure you have a flashlight with a red light to look at the star map or find the device you are carrying. The red light will help preserve your night vision.
- For best results when viewing deep objects, use the “backdoor viewing” technique. In other words, you are not looking directly at the object, but looking to the side to use the peripheral vision of the retina, which is more sensitive to low light.
- Remember that the images you see, even with a telescope, will not look like the glossy images in books and magazines. They were captured using long exposure techniques and an intensive post-production process. To the naked eye, these objects will appear faint, indistinct, or hazy, unlike the night sky.
- You can preserve these memories by writing down your observations in a notebook or by drawing sketches.
You must record your observations in a notebook. Source: Nightskyhunter.com
Can the bare face see the worm?
It seems impossible, but it is not. Viewing options will be limited and you’ll need to find a dark enough spot, but it’s still possible. The brighter the object, the darker the sky, the brighter the object.
The Pleiades star cluster in the sky. Source: cdn.steamboatpilot.com
The Andromeda galaxy (M31) and the Pleiades open star cluster (M45) are the easiest objects to see with the naked eye. The first celestial body is best observed away from light pollution, while the Pleiades can be seen even in cities. You will probably see a faint patch of light with 6-8 bright stars.
Other targets include the Honeycomb cluster (M44) and the Hyades star cluster.
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Binoculars are reasonably priced, so it’s a great place to start before diving into a telescope. This device is enough to lengthen the list of what you can see. Locating deep objects with binoculars is easier than starting with a telescope because binoculars have a wider field of view.
Targets such as the Pleiades, Melotte 111, Melotte 186 and Hydra’s Head are much better suited for binoculars than telescopes.
The open cluster Melotte 111, commonly referred to as the Coma cluster, is located in the small constellation Coma Berenices. This cluster is quite visible to the naked eye and looks extremely beautiful through binoculars. Source: Pixel
Looking through binoculars will give a different view of the Pleiades. Even a small 10×30 binocular will still show many faint stars and the number of stars you count will increase dramatically.
Bode’s Galaxy (M81) is a popular target for binocular users. You can also spot the Cigarette Galaxy (M82), located just north of M81. These galaxies are best seen through large binoculars, 15×70 or larger. But binoculars with larger lenses are heavier, so you’ll need a tripod.
Photo: Gary Seronic
AND FINALLY: WATCH THROUGH TELEVISION
For many deep objects, you will need a telescope at least 6 inches (150 mm) in diameter to see their faint shapes. But don’t give up for this reason.
While deep celestial observations without modern equipment will be limited, you won’t be disappointed when you choose and observe one of the hundreds of objects out there.
The Ring Nebula (M57) – a familiar target for astronomers and photographers. Photo: Dietmar Häger
Epilogue: Finding deep objects isn’t easy, and through telescopes or binoculars they won’t look as good as you often imagine. But don’t give up. Finding a distant star cluster or galaxy, thousands of light-years away, with your own eyes is truly an exciting experience. This feeling will leave an impression that will last a very long time.
Synopsis of the word sky at night