Deep Sky Update – January 2024

January has been a poor month for observing in Orkney – I’ve not managed any deep sky observing sessions, and just three solar and a couple of minor auroral displays which were mostly obscured by clouds. Hopefully in February things can only get better.
However it seems that many have had more success as there were 110 observations of deep sky objects uploaded to the members albums in January (of images made in January).

You can now book tickets for the in-person section meeting in March – see below for details.

Deep Sky Webinar

Many thanks to Chris, John and Mark for presenting at January webinar – if you missed it or want to watch again, it is available on the BAA YouTube channel

I have uploaded John’s list of double stars to the website for anyone that wants to have a go at these.

Section Meeting 2024

I hope you don’t get confused by the advert for the meeting in Astronomy Now and Sky @ Night magazines. It is for this year’s meeting (2024) not 2004 (mea culpa). I did manage to find a report on the 2004 meeting – it was also held at the Humfrey Rooms and saw Nick Hewitt hand over the directorship to Stewart Moore. Speakers then included Nick Hewitt, Dr Katherine Gunn, Owen Brazell and Stewart Moore.

This year’s section annual meeting will be held on March 16th 2024 at the Humfrey Rooms, Northampton. Doors open at 10:00 and the meeting will close by 17:30

The meeting is free, including refreshments and a light lunch. However due to the capacity of the Humfrey Rooms the meeting is ticketed. To book your place visit and click on the “Join the guestlist” button.

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 Astronomy image?
Bryan Lawrence – Sightseeing in Cygnus

The keynote professional speaker is to be advised.

January Object of Interest

IC 2574, also known as Coddington’s Nebula, was the target for January and was very popular, with observations by Iain Cartwright, Alan Thomas, David Davies, Graham Winstanley, Jonathan Elliot, Tim Haymes, and Richard Sargent. Just the one visual report from Jim Latham in North Wales who observed with his 14 inch Newtonian on the last day of the month and notes “In the 14″ it was initially quite hard to locate, being just visible as faint brightening of the sky at x80. It improved with higher magnification, with x120 and x180 showing an extended and irregular smudge of light, with brighter knots within it that suggested a granular texture with AV.”

Quite hard to choose between the images, but here are two: from Graham Winstanley and Tim Haymes

IC 2574 by Graham Winstanley
IC 2574 by Tim Haymes

OOI for February

For February I am going with the suggestion from Richard Sargent of NGC 1579, the Northern Triffid, in Perseus. In the member’s albums there is only a sketch from Patrick Maloney, observed with a 12 inch scope – so probably needs a 250mm aperture scope at least for visual detection.

January Picture of the Month

This month my pick of the month is a splendid image of Simeis 147, the Spaghetti Nebula, by Jonathon Elliot. There was a time when this was very hard to capture but with modern equipment and techniques spending time on targets like this can be really rewarding.

Simeis 147 by Jonathon Elliot

And Finally

It’s strange how as the end of January has passed, the days are getting noticeably longer, and the Sun is higher in the sky. I hope February offers some good observing opportunities.

Clear, dark skies,

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