Sky and Telescope's "Pocket Sky-Atlas" is a wonderful resource for all amateur astronomers. These challenges are designed for spicing up your observing.
Sky and Telescope Magazine's "Pocket Sky Atlas" has found a place in the tool kit of many amateur astronomers. The convenient size makes it easy to use at the telescope without requiring a separate chart table.
These challenge objects are indexed to the star chart pages containing those objects. The idea is to have fun and perhaps expand your observing past the "usual suspects" that can be found because of past experiences. Seeing conditions may not allow finding these objects every night, but they should be visible at some point during the month.
The January Sky
With the New Year starts another orbit around the Sun. There are 366 potential stargazing nights, and if we make an effort to plan ahead, maybe we can be more successful this year than last.
On those cloudy nights, take some time to draw up observing plans for a few weeks or even a month or two in the future. When you plan ahead, you can take full advantage of a clear night by already having an observing plan ready. Planning also lets you dig a little deeper into the atlas, past the usual 110 suspects and any wanderers that may be in the celestial neighbourhood.
But let's face it, going out to observe on a January night comes down to just one thing: motivation.
For some, a whole truckload of motivation (or more) will be needed before they wander out into bone-chilling cold, clear January nights.
If you are one of these types, you can still do a little “Winter Training Camp” from time to time just to keep keen. If you have astronomy programs, use them and figure out all the features they have, make sure you know how to print off charts when the next new comet comes around during warmer months. You can also go to the library and go through some of those books you didn’t have time to look at during busy months. This time of year is also a good time to set out some goals for objects you’d like to see during the year and make plans on how you would do that.
Or, you could just get a new parka and some warm boots so you can get out there and observe.
I’ve indexed the object to its star chart page.
Propus, page 14.
Aldebaran ,age 15;
Mirzam, page 16.
Arneb' page 16.
Nihal' page 16, can you make out the Throne of Jawz?'?'
Menkar, page 17.
Procyon, page 25.
Sirius, page 27.
vdB-26, page 15.
Ced 34 (Cederblad catalogue object), page 15.
NGC 1535, page 17.
Lower’s Nebula, page 25.
Small Scopes and Binoculars
NGC 2215, page 16.
NGC 1582, page 12.
M 67, page 24.
NGC 2182, page 25.
NGC 1817 and NGC 1807, page 14;
NGC 1554, page 15.
NGC 1407 and NGC 1400, page 17.
NGC 2403, page 21.
For Those Heading South this Winter
Fornax Dwarf, Page 6.
NGC 2210, Page 20.
Clear skies and cold weather greeted 42 visitors (22 children and 20 adults) from the Northdale Central Public School (Dorchester) Grade 5-6 class for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, January 27th, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation "The Solar System Including Small Bodies" and fielded questions.Read more...
Hazy, cloudy skies, later cloudy, and cold temperature greeted 39 visitors to the Western University’s Cronyn Observatory Public Night, Monday, January 26th, 7:00 p.m. The event was especially intended for students on campus, with observing only and no slide presentation.Read more...
Clear skies, later clouding over, greeted 25 visitors from the 1st Ilderton Sparks, including 13 children and 12 adults, for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, January 22nd, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Graduate student Parshati Patel made the digital slide presentation “The Guide Astronomy Badge” and followed this with the activity “Constellations” distributing 14 “Star Finder” plansipheres.Read more...