Deep Sky Update – May 2024

Just a quick update this month. Really light nights are here in Orkney now, but hopefully those further south might have some productive observing time around your local midnight. The BAA Spring Meeting in Greenock was very good, and was nice to meet up with a lot of folk, and catch up with some very old acquaintances. Sadly I missed the aurora on May 11 as I had gone to my accommodation, as there did not seem to be anything happening in the north – all the action was happening to the south! My home aurora webcam picked it up well later in the night, and my meteor camera caught it lookin south, albeit in black and white. Although now the aurora season will be done until August, there are the prospects of Noctilucent Clouds, and I thought there might be some on the 2nd of June, but I was not convinced, however it was reported that night by Denis Buczynski, Jimmy Fraser (both north of Inverness) and an Orkney local. So the NLC season is underway and hopefully there will be more displays and clear sky weather in the next few weeks.

Deep Sky Catalogues

Much appreciation goes to Dominc Ford who has added several deep sky catalogues to the BAA Image Library (aka Members Albums). I hope these will help people tag objects in their images. The catalogues added are:

PK planetary nebulae (PK)
Strasbourg-ESO Catalogue of Galactic Planetary Nebulae (PN-G)
Uppsala General Catalog of galaxies (UGC)
Uppsala General Catalog of galaxies addendum (UGCA)
Principal Galaxies Catalogue (PGC)
Shakhbazian compact groups of galaxies (Shk)
Lynds’ catalogue of bright nebulae (LBN)
Lynds’ catalogue of dark nebulae (LDN)
Van den Bergh catalogue of reflection nebulae (VdB)

If there are other catalogues that you think should be added please let me know, and it’s possible these could be added in a future update.

May’s OOI – Arp 302 by Richard Francis with Arp 117 bonus.

Gyulbudaghians Nebula

Recent observations of Gyulbudaghians Nebula (aka Mr G) by Mike Harlow, Richard Sargent and Grant Privett reveal that the nebula has all but disappeared. Regular monitoring is needed to see when it starts to show again, and I would encourage everyone to put it in their monitoring programme.


May Object of Interest

May’s OOI was Arp 302, the “Exclamation Mark Galaxy”. It was rather small and faint. I managed a reasonable capture of it with iTelescope T19 in Utah, and there are nice images in the Members Albums of Pat Devine, Richard Francis, Alan Thomas, David Strange, Jonathon Elliot and Bob Trevan. Here is Richard Francis’ image which includes a large number of other galaxies in the field and also Arp 177 as a bonus!

June Object of Interest

I’m not sure if this target might be too hard for light nights of June, but please also have a go into July and August if you get the chance. June’s target is the ‘other’ ring nebula of Lyra, Minkowski 1-64. Of course somewhat fainter and smaller than M57. I have seen some visual and EAA reports on the internet (as well as deeper images of course) so should not be intrinsically very hard. I also realise that the Minkowski PNs are not in the image gallery catalogues, but you can tag it as PK 064+15.1

Picture of the Month

There have been a lot of super images posted in May (104), and I have chosen this one of NGC 3718 / Arp 214 in Ursa Major by Peter Hannah. A terrific image with much fine detail.

NGC 3718 by Peter Hannah

And Finally

In spite of the light nights, I hope you manage to enjoy some astronomy over these summer months.

Clear, dark skies,

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