Deep Sky Update – April 2024

Well, April was another poor month of observing opportunities again for me. Astronomical twilight now lasts all night in Orkney until August 18th, so there will be limited deep sky observing and aurora watching, though there is the Noctilucent Cloud season to look forward to.

I see that Robert Stoyan’s “Atlas of the Messier Objects” second edition has been shipping. Though on Amazon it says it’s available late June, Cambridge University Press show it as available. Would be nice if anyone would like to provide a short review.

I shall be going (Loganair permitting!) to the BAA Spring Meeting in Greenock on May 11th – if you are also going I’ll see you there!

Webb Deep-Sky Society Annual Meeting 2024

The Webb Deep-Sky Society annual meeting is one of the highlights of the deep sky year, and will take place at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge on June 15th. A nice lineup of speakers:

  • Jim Latham Exploring the Limits of Visual Galaxy Observation.
  • Paul Howat will talk about Camper van astrophotography in Portugal.
  • Mike Leggett on Star Colours from W H Smyth to E I Essam.
  • Tatyana Reid will ask us What do you want to observe?
  • Professional keynote talk will be given by Prof Jan Forbrich on The Orion Radio All-Stars – What radio astronomy tells us about star formation.

Full details at:

NGC 4517 by David Strange

April Object of Interest

April’s object was NGC 4517 (and 4157A) – there were only a few observations made. I guess the weather was not too good. Jim Latham in North Wales managed a fleeting observation, though it was very low at the time. I used iTelescope T21 for a 30 minute exposure. David Davies and Alan Thomas were both successful. David Strange managed to capture it early May. You can see all these images on the Object of Interest gallery.

Object of Interest for May

I’ve chosen another galaxy (or pair) for May, hopefully your skies will not be too light. Boötes has quite a lot of deep sky targets, but does not seem to be a very popular area . I hope, though, you might be attracted by Arp 302 (VV 340, UGC 9618), sometimes known as the Exclamation Point Galaxy. There is just one image in the Members’ Albums by Mattia Piccoli.

Deep Sky Image of the Month

There have been many great images posted in April, and I have plumped for this one by Mazin Younis using his remote telescope in Morocco. Planetary nebulae in M46.

M46 & Planetary Nebulae by Main Younis

And Finally

With summer approaching I expect many will be looking to maintenance projects. Once I get our polytunnel repaired, it will be onto the observatory, ready for the autumn.

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