With crisp, clear nights on the horizon, fall is bringing new opportunities for stargazing in the Northern Hemisphere. To find the best deep-sky objects to observe, we turned to some of our Unistellar users. Their picks for the best fall observing targets include a bumper crop of majestic celestial objects for you to enjoy in the night sky. So let’s warm up some cider, grab your scope, and get outside!
Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253)
This massive starburst galaxy is home to a flurry of new star formation, and it’s readily apparent to most observers. Discovered by astronomer Caroline Hershel in 1783, it’s one of eVscope user Jacques Bérard’s favorite targets.
“The galaxy is huge and has a nice silver color with a lot of detail,” Bérard says. “As soon as it is high enough I will revisit this gem of the fall sky.”
Observers on Earth can see this unbarred spiral galaxy edge-on in the constellation of Andromeda. It’s a reminder, says Mike Merrifield in the U.K., of how slim galaxies like our Milky Way truly are.
“It underlines quite how thin and delicate the disks of such galaxies are, with the dust lane cutting across it forming an even thinner feature,” Merrifield says.
The Helix Nebula is often called the “Eye of Sauron” for the way its central stellar core and surrounding gaseous envelope resemble a malevolent eye. Close to Earth, the object appears relatively larger than other similar nebulae.
“It’s just the right size to fit nicely into the eVscope’s viewfinder,” says Tateki Goto, an eVscope user from Japan.
The Whirlpool Galaxy, M51, comes with a bonus: the dwarf galaxy NGC 5195. Connected by a thin stream of dust and gas called a tidal bridge, these galactic companions are a unique example of cosmic interaction, says Bruno Guillet, from France.
“It’s one of my favorite targets: this interacting galaxy pair is beautiful and the dust-rich tidal bridge is always impressive,” Guillet says.
Large and bright, M81, or Bode’s Galaxy, is a popular target for professional and amateur astronomers alike. This grand design spiral galaxy makes for excellent viewing, especially in the fall as it rises higher above the horizon.
“It’s a beautifully symmetric spiral, with a bright core and arms that slowly appear as the image builds up,” says David Rowe. “A great one to demonstrate the eVscope.”
We encourage you to share your observations and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge!
If you’d like to send us your observations by email, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clear skies! 🔭