Deep Sky Update – December 2023

December has been a poor month for observing here in Orkney. We did have three nights where aurorae were visible, but on the whole it has been quite a windy and wet month.
Hopefully 2024 will bring some better observing conditions, though it has not been the best of starts. Just a couple of updates and the OOI’s in this months issue.

Deep Sky Webinar – January 11 2024

The Deep Sky Webinar is all set to go now on Thursday 11th. The programme is:
19:30 – Chris Lee, Electronically Assisted Astronomy
20:00 – John McCue, Observing Double Stars
20:30 – Mark Stuart, “Exploring the cosmic tapestry: take a journey, observe galaxies”

Please follow this link to join the webinar via Zoom:

You can also watch the webinar on the BAA YouTube channel:

Deep Sky Section Annual Meeting 2024 – March 16

Good progress is being made on the in-person section meeting which is being held on March 16th at the Humfrey Rooms in Northampton.

Speakers confirmed so far are:

Paul Downing – An Arpist’s Journey
Martina McGovern – Orion and beyond: First Steps in Astrophotography.
David Boyd – Spectroscopy of the Deep Sky
Nick Hewitt – The most important Astro- image?
Bryan Lawrence – TBA

I am still looking for a professional to give the keynote talk – but have invites out so hopefully this will be filled before too long.

Further details are being worked out, so keep an eye out for updates on the event page:

Object of Interest for December – Barnard 34

Thanks to those who sent in images and reports on B 34. Iain Cartwright sent this nice image below, and Pat Devine used the Edinburgh Astronomical Society’s remote telescope which also shows nice nebulosity in Auriga.
Alan Thomas used the COAST telescope for a closer-up view.

Barnard 34, M36, M37 by Iain Cartwright. Nikon D810A with Sigma 150mm Macro lens at f5. 50 images each with exposure 59s at ISO80

And Alan Snook observed it visually with Canon 18×50 IS binoculars and also noted that it was not seen in 8×32’s. Alan sent this nice sketch.

B34 by Alan Snook using 18×50 IS binoculars. Alan notes: Not all of the brighter stars that were visible have been drawn. The fainter drifts of Milky Way are representative of the view and are not a photographic-style record.

January Object of Interest – IC 2574

In Ursa Major, just three or four degrees away from M81/82 and part of the M81 group is IC 2574 also known as Coddington’s Nebula (after its discoverer Edwin Coddington). It is a dwarf irregular galaxy, and also thought to have a candidate active galaxy nucleus. I have only found one recent image in my archive and none in the Members Albums, so I hope you will be able to have a go. I think it should be available for visual observation too.

Picture of the Month

I’ve picked this image of NGC 1232 by Luigi Morrone this month – it’s a really nice face-on spiral galaxy in Eridanus, rather low down for viewing from the UK, but captured nicely using a Telescope Live scope in Chile.

NGC 1232 by Luigi Morrone

And Finally

I had made a new year resolution to get the update out earlier in the month – so have distinctly failed on that one! Sorry about that. Will try to do better for next month. I hope we all get some decent observing weather in January, but at the moment it’s all looking a bit soggy. Stay safe.

Clear, dark skies,

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