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 December Sky
The Hunter is well placed in the night sky this month. Any observing session will usually start or end with a look at M42, and why not? Observing instruments from the naked eye to the largest telescope will yield some level of detail on these cold crisp nights. So for those brave enough to venture away from the fireside, drink it in and imagine just what might be going on there now.
With all the hubbub and commitments of the holiday season, it’s hard to find a half hour or so to just pop outside and have a look at the night sky. When you need a break from all the confusion, the night sky is always there, as constant as ever, and as tranquil as any oasis. Dress warmly for any outing as you may find yourself spending more time than anticipated, but it will be time well spent, nonetheless.
I’ve indexed the object to its star chart page.
Capella, page 12.
Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, Meissa, Page 14.
Aldebaran, page 15.
M45, page 15.
Saiph, Rigel, Cursa, Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Page 16.
NGC 7814, page 5.
NGC 988, page 6.
NGC 1360, page 17.
NGC 7741, page 74.
Small Scopes and Binoculars
TV (AKA SAO 91910, Hip, 2219), page 5.
M34, page 13.
R Leporis (Hind’s Crimson Star), page 16.
Markab page 74.
NGC 1662, page 15.
NGC 2204, Page 16.
NGC 7006, Page 75.
NGC 7606, page 76.
Hazy, partly cloudy skies greeted 43 visitors (25 children and 18 adults) from the 55th Girl Guides Unit of London for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Thursday, November 28th, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Graduate student Tony Martinez made the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge.” Before starting his slide presentation, Tony briefly demonstrated the sky charting software “Stellarium,” showing them what the sky would look like if there were no clouds and explaining that the software was freely available on-line.Read more...
Hazy, partly cloudy skies greeted 33 visitors (26 children and 7 adults) from the 99th London Pathfinders / Rangers / Guides for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Tuesday, November 26th, 2013, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Shannon Hicks made the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge.” She distributed and showed how to assemble and use 33 “Star Finder” planispheres.Read more...
Light falling snow greeted 26 visitors (16 children and 10 adults) from the 53rd Girl Guides for Exploring the Stars at the Cronyn Observatory, Monday, November 25th, 2013, 6:30 p.m. Graduate student Dilini Subasinghe made the digital slide presentation “The Scout / Guide Astronomy Badge.” She explained 25 “Star Finder” planispheres distributed to the group.Read more...