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Ccolvin968

September 2015 Target of the Month.

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So this is something I'm trying to get started here and this is the first iteration of the idea.

If you would find a star chart handy to be posted on here in the future posts, it's not a problem. 

Targets for the month are a fun way to get people of all levels into observing and then compare our observations at the end of the month prior to the next Target of the Month (TOTM) being posted. I'll try my best to get the targets for the upcoming month out at least 5 days prior to the start of that month. You can either observe in "your level" that you chose to participate in, or participate in all levels and all targets. Or just one level and one target in the level. There will be one main target per difficulty level then 2-4 additional targets per level depending on help that I receive or free time that I have to research these. The target difficulty will be listed as Easy, Medium, and Hard. So lets get started! 

Easy: 

Main Target of the Month:

**Mel 111** The Coma Berenices Star Cluster. Something I've never personally observed, but it is apparently a very nice object in binoculars and wider fields. At Mag 1.8 it should be an easy target in small scopes. It is a very large cluster that takes up about 5 degrees. Binoculars are needed to get the whole cluster in view at once or a very low power ep. It is hugging the Western horizon at this time of year, so that may make it a slightly more difficult target. 

Secondary targets:

**M7** (Ptolemy's Cluster) A gorgeous cluster between Scorpius and Sagittarius.

**M6** (Butterfly Cluster) Close to M7, but higher up and just a bit more faint.

Medium:

Main Target of the Month:

**M57** (Ring Nebula) M57 is a Planetary Nebula at magnitude 9 in the Constellation Lyra. It is the remnants of a dying star. It lies 1360 ly from us.

Secondary Targets:

**M20** (Trifid Nebula) Not extremely difficult to find. How much nebulosity can you see from your area around it? How about with filters?

**Antares Binary** Can be a more difficult split due to the fact it requires near perfect seeing conditions and at least a good 6" scope to split.

Hard:

Main target of the Month: 

NGC6543 (Cats Eye Nebula) A mag 9.6 planetary nebula that lies about 3262 ly away in the constellation draco. I've not heard much about the cats eye being observed personally. What can you guys tell me?

Secondary Targets:

**Pluto** (Dwarf Planet) An obvious more difficult target that is in the Southern sky this month. It's mag 14.14 and a little over 3.6 billion miles from us. (Just shy of 6 billion km) Can you see it? What can you see? 

**M82** (Cigar Galaxy) M82 is a mag 9.5 galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is five times brighter than our whole milky way and 100 times brighter than our center. What do you think? 

There it is folks... What do you think? How were the targets? Would you participate now or in future TOTM's? If not, why? What would you like to see to make it better or more appealing to you? Hope you enjoy. If not, it was just a shot in the dark. Hope you have fun!

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Nice idea and seems like realistic targets, though some a bit low for this part of the country. I will give them a go if we ever get clear skies here again. Thanks for posting.

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I'll take that into consideration for next months. I'll try to correct for that by finding targets higher up or later in the night/earlier in the morning to accommodate those who are further south. I'm 47° N. Not sure where most people are located on this forum other than Europe.

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What a nice idea, thanks for taking the time to do this. :)

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Not a problem swamp. :-) my goal is to get people to either post their findings at the end of the month either in this post or their own post of their observations. It'd be really cool to see how this turns out. TOTM can and will be updated for major events any time in the month should a major event happen such as a new comet, supernova, etc. Thanks for the interest!

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This is an interesting idea to me. Thanks for pushing it! 

Just some comments: 

- Easy list: M6 and M7 are below the horizon in most of (if not all) the UK. I would possibly add: IC4665, Albireo, Rasalgheti, Mel20, M22, Double Cluster.

- Medium list: M55, M75, C47, M26,  M13, M92, M33

- Difficult list: well.. it depends on how much difficult.. I am not sure m82 would compete with Pluto :o anyway, I leave the comments to the experts. 

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Noted. I'll do my best to tailor the list to all users on here. Do you have any suggestions as how to be sure the targets are viewable by most users of SGL? Is it as easy as picking targets higher above the horizon since I'm further south than the UK.

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Noted. I'll do my best to tailor the list to all users on here. Do you have any suggestions as how to be sure the targets are viewable by most users of SGL? Is it as easy as picking targets higher above the horizon since I'm further south than the UK.

Hi Ccolvin968,

Here in the UK the sky is visible up to about -30 degrees South. Anyway, I wasn't saying not to include targets located further South, but just to also include some objects visible at Northern Latitudes as this will be of interest for many people on SGL. 

A good starting point could be to read the observation reports that members make available here on SGL. Some of the targets are easy, other medium and others require expertise beside telescope aperture and most importantly dark skies.  :rolleyes:

Piero

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Piero, I think my mistake was picking my targets too close to my horizon. I'm roughly 45 degrees north. London is 51 degrees north. They were close to the horizon even for me. I'll definitely work on this a bit and get it perfected. Once I do,I can see this being a lot of fun. Thanks for the help. :-)

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Don't worry there are bound o be teething problems. This is a good idea and I hope it gets the support it deserves.

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I also think it's a good idea, it would be better if the targets were

nearer the 51 degree mark, some targets are way to low.

But it's a fun idea, hope you can accommodate most folk next time.

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It won't be a problem at all. I can put my location into stellarium as 51 degrees. Most of the targets you all have mentioned are very visible to me as well. I didn't even consider how close they were to my horizon, which was bad enough. Next months will be much more planned out. I can always go back through and redo parts of September's. I still have 5 days after all. I'll give that a shot actually. Thank you to those of you who have given me input and the critique where it's needed. Also, I really appreciate the support for the idea. I'm glad you all like it!

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You can get the basic targets from here,

http://www.skymaps.com

I like to look through the observing reports here ,as this is stuff which folk actually see, not book fantasies !

Nick.

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You can get the basic targets from here,

http://www.skymaps.com

I like to look through the observing reports here ,as this is stuff which folk actually see, not book fantasies !

Nick.

Thats a great resource Nick. Their free evening sky map is a great way to see "whats up" each month :smiley:

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Thanks cotterless! Seems like a really good resource. I'll use these from now on.

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Nice idea! Fair play to you for taking the initiative and driving this.

I'll certainly be on for giving targets visible from my location a shot. Always interested in checking out recommendations by people here on SGL. I like your choice of the Cat Eye neb - been targeting it over the last few sessions - a great object :)

Edited by niallk

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It's great to see I have some interest in this. Since I still have 5 more days until September starts, I put together an updated Target of The Month for September that I will post in a separate new thread. The targets will be much better suited for those who are in the UK (based on 51°N), but those in the Northern latitudes in North America, (I'm at 44°N) will work just as well. Again, thank you all for the support and encouragement with this little project. :-)

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Noted. I'll do my best to tailor the list to all users on here. Do you have any suggestions as how to be sure the targets are viewable by most users of SGL? Is it as easy as picking targets higher above the horizon since I'm further south than the UK.

The majority of members are based in the UK, so assuming a latitude of say 54 deg north and 0 deg west would probably be a good starting point.

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Thank you sir. I posted an updated version of this thread and have a Lat/Long of 51N and 0W. Roughly based off of London. The only target that was still a little low for some users was Antares.

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Nice idea - recently I have been running out of DSOs to observe!

It would help me a lot if you posted a picture from stellarium and labled each of the targets on it. The sky map i use only has the messiers

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