Thursday, February 16

Hidden Gems in Common Deep-Sky Objects

"Many of the deep-sky objects we point our telescopes toward have pleasant surprises, some in plain sight, others hidden and more challenging. Let me introduce you to a few. As kids, we'd take our allowance and buy these boxes of Cracker Jack filled with caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts. I never much cared for the molasses-flavored popcorn, but the peanuts were tasty. Both took a backseat to the paper-wrapped prize at the bottom of the box. Sometimes I'd fish out the prize before even bothering with the goodies, tearing it open to get something cool like a plastic T-rex, whistle, or even a magnifying glass. Deep-sky objects are like that. You might seek out a galaxy and discover an unexpected double star in the same field of view. A star cluster may include a striking asterism or an appealing red star. But you've got to rifle through the popcorn and peanuts first to find the prize. I've selected eight of my favorites, all well-placed in the evening sky this month. ..."
Sky & Telescope