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phoobar

Observing Seasons

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Having just read a couple of posts by ant and andrew, they state that spring is Galaxy season. I was previously unaware of seasonal observing and wondered what season we are currently in, Planetary season?

What are the seasons and their associated viewing objects? 

Cheers

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It's a good question and I'm not sure there is any one right answer.

In spring there are more galaxies visible at night, so it is fondly called the Galaxy Season. I like to think of summer and early autumn as the Cluster and Nebulae season and winter as the season of mighty Orion.

Sadly, I don't think 2015 will be much of a year to view Mars well. Jupiter will be at its finest around spring and Saturn will be at its best around the Summer.

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I like to think of summer as the Milky Way season and winter when it swings out of the way letting us see out of our galaxy, hurrah !

Nick.

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sounds interesting, I started astronomy in october so about to complete my first season and now excited for whats ahead. 

Be nice not to be cold for a change.

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Spring & Fall - The view is out from the plane of the Milky Way, so galaxy seasons.

Summer - The view is towards the interior of the Milky Way, so star clouds and nebula (emission, dark and planetary) season.

Winter - The view is towards the exterior of the Milky Way, so distant open cluster season, and of course, the Orion complex of nebulae.

Double Stars - All seasons.

Planets, Comets & Asteroids - Whenever they present themselves.

The Moon - Every month.

Sol - Every clear day.

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I like to think of summer as the Milky Way season and winter when it swings out of the way letting us see out of our galaxy, hurrah !

Nick.

I though the summer was can't-see-anything-as-it-never-gets-dark season! :-P Still, late summer's usually ok.

David

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Summer's great. Shorts, beer ,mozzies, just great !

Nick.

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I think of Spring as Galaxy Season 'cos Virgo is well positioned, and the Virgo Cluster of galaxies nicely on view.

Summer is Glob season to me, as many of the globular clusters are towards the center of the galaxy - and that's best positioned in the summer time (the galactic centre is in Sagittarius).

(at least in the northern hemisphere)

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My take is:

Winter - The glories or Orion! Sparkling clusters! Crisp, clear nights! I wish I lived under dark skies!

Spring - Galaxies. I wish I lived under dark skies (At least I usually go on holiday about now...)

Summer - Sagittarius, amazing nebulae and the Milky Way. I wish I lived under dark skies. And further south.

Autumn - The slightly boring season when everything seems really faint and fuzzy. I wish I lived under dark skies. In the Southern Hemisphere.

Thanks,

DD

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Summer and autumn please, longer and darker nights and further south would be nice....

Peter

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Spring is probably seen as galaxy time because of the Virgo cluster where so many of them are packed together, though it's also the best time for all the galaxies around Urea Major. But there are some other objects I consider to belong to spring too, like M3 and M5.

Autumn doesn't have many deep sky objects compared to the other seasons (unless you stay up until Orion & Co rise), but among those it does have, about half are galaxies too. M31 and its chums and M33, also M74 and M77- a wide range of galaxies there from very bright to very faint. The clusters round Capricornus/Aquarius and M15 are borderline summer/autumn objects for me, apart from maybe M30. They are setting quite early by late November but are well visible in August. As M31/32/110 are circumpolar and M33 almost so, it's only M74 and M77 and perhaps M30 that are strictly autumn only Messiers.

The Pleiades I consider the first Winter Messier, heralding the season of open clusters. They dominate winter, from Auriga down to Canis Major and Puppis. A few nebulae provide some variety, but there is only one globular, the faint and difficult M79.

While winter is dominated by open clusters with a few nebulae, summer is somewhat the reverse. But there are a good variety of objects then, the nebulae down in Sagittarius, some decent globs (M13, M92, M22, M28, M4, M2, M15 and a few fainter ones in Ophiuchus), some other clusters (M24, M11, M71, M29, M39, M56) and the two planetaries, M27 and M57.

Although quite a few Messiers are circumpolar here, the only ones that are easy to see all year are M81, M82, M52 and M103. The others either get very close to the horizon (M31,M34,- though I can often find M39 when it's due north as it's close to Deneb) or are so faint they need to be high up to see (the other Ursa Major galaxies and M76).

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UREA major??? Eeek! >_<

Haha Stupid predictive text! You wouldn't want to know what it tries to turn Pisces into....

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