By Walter Scott Houston
Highlights from Sky & Telescope's Deep-Sky Wonders column demonstrate the independence of concept and devotion to craft that made author "Scotty" Houston a favourite between readers for nearly 50 years. Sky & Telescope journal contributing editor Stephen James O'Meara has chosen and organized the easiest of Scotty's paintings right into a year-round advisor to the big name clusters, nebulae, and galaxies that entice skygazers into their backyards on transparent, darkish nights. Scotty intersperses his attractive statement with specialist suggestion on changing into a extra able observer.
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I ' g th is column , mentioned only the star cluster, thinking that the nebulosiwflt JO in amateur telescopes. After all, the great 19th-century seen Id not be . ty co u d th e ne bu I a m . obs erve rs W. H. Smyth and T. W. Webb never mentlOne . B ng I·IS h Fre d amateurs Canadian . persuaded I 1970s I as sic obse rving guides. In the . . their C . reflector, 6-mch 1 a usmg Even nd Rolf Meier in Ottawa to look for It. LOS SJOg a barely see t e brigh t er part . ld th ey cou . how qUlckly a hitherto Ignored nebula took on the mantle of a test s It amaze me .
Glare and scattered light from M41 's numerous bright stars mask the faintest cluster members that your telescope would otherwise show if the field were less crOWded. This is one reason why a compact cluster with bright stars is a poor choice for determining the absolute limiting magnitude of a visual telescope. Telescopic fields are not the only ones affected by glare. 5 with the naked eye. Were it not for the bright Pleiades, these observers should be able to count upward of 30 stars in the group.
About 445 years. One , . centunes before Castor s compoIS certaI' n , however. it will be more than four now. do they than closer r appea nents . . . No one saw Castor as a pair of stars at ItS prevIOus mllllmum separatIOn, for the invention of the telescope then lay more than a century in the future. In my , 2 1 00 2040 Castor, the famous binary star in Gemini, is both a visual treat and a chal lenge for small-telescope users. 9" as seen here in 1 999). 5). " In 1 803 his father William had announced that the two stars were orbit ing each other the way planets orbit the Sun.
Deep-Sky Wonders by Walter Scott Houston