January 2022

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Hang Out with the Twins of Gemini

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Hang Out with the Twins of Gemini

by: David Prosper

 

The night skies of February are filled with beautiful star patterns, and so this month we take a closer look at another famous constellation, now rising high in the east after sunset: Gemini, the Twins!

If you’re observing Orion, as discussed in last month’s article, then Gemini is easy to find: just look above Orion’s “head” to find Gemini’s “feet.” Or, make a line from brilliant blue-white Rigel in the foot of Orion, through its distinct “Belt,” and then on through orange Betelgeuse. Keep going and you will end up in between the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the “heads” of the Gemini Twins. While not actually related – these stars aren’t bound to each other, and are almost a magnitude apart in brightness – they do pair up nicely when compared to their surrounding stars. Take note: more than one stargazer has confused Gemini with its next-door neighbor constellation, Auriga. The stars of Auriga rise before Gemini’s, and its brightest star, Capella, doesn’t pair up as strikingly with its second most brilliant star as Castor and Pollux do. Star-hop to Gemini from Orion using the trick above if you aren’t sure which constellation you’re looking at.

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents. 

Note: Yes, it’s back in print and at a great price. Get your copy of “The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide” by Harvard Pennington from Sky Publishing, the Sky and Telescope people: https://shopatsky.com/collections/calendars-almanacs

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Messier Column February 2022

by Jim King

February is fast upon us…can March be far behind? Rene Gedaly in her position of FT&O Chair is planning a Messier Marathon for HAS in March at the dark site and will be publishing the particulars.

WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? It is for you!  The following seem to be reasonable considerations for you to attend:

  1. It looks like (and is) fun.
  2. Astronomy is interesting and challenging.
  3. You like learning new things and meeting new people.
  4. You like gadgets, geegaws and widgets…especially things that you can look through and make you go, “WOW”.
  5. You want to see the splendors of the deep sky for yourself.
  6. (Add your own hot-button)

The best month for seeing Messier’s list of wonders is March, when under dark, clear skies all 110 objects can be located in a single night.  Even if one doesn’t get them all or even most, items one through six above still apply at any level of success or effort.

There are at least two wonderful print sources available to you:  Deep-Sky Companions; The Messier Objects by Stephen James O’Meara (hardback, available from Amazon for about $33.00), and The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide by Harvard Pennington (out of print but used copies may be available.)  Additionally, a PDF file is available at https://www.readbookpage.com/pdf/the-year-round-messier-marathon-field-guide/)  Be aware, that download is quite large, but, I think, free.  

I have heard rumors the Pennington field guide is back in print, but I have not been able to locate a source.  If true, perhaps Rene knows.  In addition, software programs such as Sky Tools can provide great planning source documents.

For those of you who might be doing the monthly program, February’s entries follow.

(An important jargon jogger:  Messier uses the descriptive term “nebula” since he was frequently using a 3.5-inch telescope which had difficulty resolving dim stars.  It appears that he thought “nebulae” were not gas clouds, but simply unresolved star clouds.  Therefore, in our descriptions, we must mentally separate Messier’s “nebulae” from the real thing.  He does differentiate nebulosity from luminosity.)

220127km_M97_M108_forJKing.png

 

Letter from the President - February 2022

Greetings all and welcome to 2022!  I know this is February, but due to all of the website migration activities, I didn’t get a chance to publish anything in January – so this is my official “Happy New Year!” message to all members and HAS friends.  I hope you all are doing well, staying safe, and enjoying any new astronomy gifts you may have received during the holidays.

January has been a busy month for those of us on the leadership team, as we’ve been heads-down and putting together our plans for the year.  In mid-January, we held our annual planning meeting and passed our 2022 budget, and I’m super excited about all of the great activities we have on the schedule so far.  If you haven’t checked out the events yet, please do so on our website and get those dates marked on your calendar.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the Messier Marathon at the HAS dark site, our HAS get-togethers at the Texas Star Party, and our annual picnic in October.

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