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TitleAstronomy.for.Beginners.4th.edition.2016 P2P
TagsLens (Optics) Telescope Amateur Astronomy Astronomy
File Size37.3 MB
Total Pages164
Document Text Contents
Page 1

All you need to know to
get started in astronomy
Set up your telescope
Observe the planets
Master star charts

From the makers of


Page 82

82 Astronomy for Beginners

Seasonal guides

October and November offer some of the most spectacular night sky
sights. Here are eight of the best for you to discover for yourself

Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
Viewable time: Around midnight

Our nearest neighbouring galaxy is ideally
positioned high in the north for northern
hemisphere observers in the autumn. We can
clearly see its central ‘bulge’ in binoculars
or a small telescope. With a large
telescope, M31’s major dust
lane can be seen. To find this
monster, first locate Beta
Andromedae (Mirach).
From here, sweep to
Mu Andromedae
and then continue
for the same
distance again.

Viewable time: Around

M74 is a stunning spiral
galaxy some 32 million light
years distant. It’s widely regarded
as one of the best targets for those
wishing to see the eponymous spiral
structure. M74 resides in the constellation of
Pisces (the fishes), but it’s helpful to use the
two brightest stars in the neighbouring Aries
(the golden ram). From Hamal (Alpha) sweep
to Sheratan (Beta) and continue for about
twice the distance to Eta Piscium. M74 lies
about one degree south of this line.

Viewable time: After


One of the largest known
globular clusters at 175

light years in diameter, M2 is
theoretically manageable with

the unaided eye in the darkest skies,
and delightfully prominent in binoculars

and small telescopes. M2 occupies the fairly
complex constellation of Aquarius (the Water

Bearer) but its unmistakable non-stellar
appearance makes it a snap to find. Simply find

the double star Beta Aquarii (Sadalsuud) and
from here sweep about five degrees northward.

Veil Nebula
Viewable time: Before midnight

The Veil Nebula glows as it collides with
interstellar gas and dust, and is clearly

visible in binoculars and telescopes.
Start from Epsilon Cygni and sweep

approximately four degrees south
to the star 52 Cygni. This bright

star appears connected
to the Western Veil –

nicknamed the Witch’s
Broom – which

appears like a silver
blade. The larger

Eastern Veil is
just a couple

of degrees to
the east.


Page 83

Astronomy for Beginners 83

Viewable time: After midnight

Over 40,000 light years from Earth,
the globular cluster M79 is a curious

object. Research within the last
decades supports the idea that it

may have been gently persuaded
by the gravitational pull of the

Milky Way galaxy, to leave its
home – the Canis Major
dwarf galaxy. Therefore,

it’s unusually placed
for a globular, in
Lepus. Find Beta

Lepus (Nihal) and
sweep about
four degrees
southward at

low power
to see this


The Orionids
Viewable time:
October, before dawn

This meteor shower is a regular
occurrence and this year it will
be best viewed just before
dawn. If you trace the meteors
backwards you will find that
they seem to originate
from the club of the
constellation Orion
(the hunter).

Viewable time:
Around midnight

Although not visible
on our star charts,
Mercury's position in its
orbit at this time makes it
easy to locate in the night sky.
You’ll need to look just above the
western horizon as twilight ends but
bear in mind that to the unaided eye that
Mercury looks just like a star.



Viewable time:
Around midnight

The Skull Nebula is an
asymmetrical planetary

nebula bearing a striking
resemblance to a ghastly

skeletal head, grinning at us
from 1,600 light years away. In

Cetus, locate the stars Phi-1 and Phi-2
(between Eta and Iota Ceti). Bisect the

line between them, and from the centre sweep
directly south about one degree.



Page 164

All you need to know to get started in astronomy

Astronomy essentials
Discover all the basics about telescopes,
accessories and setting up

Seasonal guides
Utilise star charts to track the night sky
through the seasons

What to observe
Spot amazing night-time sights, from the Big
Dipper to planets and their moons

Getting started
Master key skills and uncover amazing sights
for amateurs to discover

Capture your stargazing successes with our
practical photography tutorials

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