Sky and Telescope - September 2018 - 66

Deep-Sky Suburbia

tude-10.5 spiral with a size of 6.2′ × 2.9′. For best results, look
for the galaxy when Cetus is well away from the horizon.
In long-exposure photos, NGC 1055 is an impressive,
nearly edge-on spiral with a prominent equatorial dust
lane. You won't see any of that with a backyard telescope, of

M73

p MISTAKEN IDENTITY Charles Messier thought he detected nebulosity surrounding this modest group of stars; however, his conclusion must
have been the result of a trick of the eye - or eyepiece. The stars of this
asterism are not physically related.

66

S E P TE M B E R 2 018 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

p IMPRESSIVE EDGE-ON Through amateur scopes, NGC 1055 appears
as a round smudge, slightly elongated east-west. The galaxy forms an
equilateral triangle with two 8th-magnitude stars to its north. NGC 105
lies about about 52 million light-years away in the direction of Cetus.

INSE T M1 SK E TCH: U WE G L A HN; LORD ROSSE M1 SK E TCH: PHILOSOPHICAL TR ANSACTIONS OF THE
R OYAL SOCIE T Y OF LOND ON (1844) / PUBLIC DO M AIN; M73: POSS-II / CA LTECH / STSCI / PA LO M A R
OBSERVATORY; NGC 10 55: ESO

p EYE OF THE BEHOLDER What you see in the eyepiece can be very
subjective, as shown by these two sketches of the supernova remnant M1.
The details captured in the sketch by Uwe Glahn (inset) came via his 27inch reflector at 366×. His depiction differs greatly from that of William Parson, 3rd Earl of Rosse, who produced the first known sketch of this diffuse
nebulosity as viewed through a 36-inch reflector with speculum mirror at
magnifications from 250× to 800×. Though it seems to depict a pineapple,
Lord Rosse's drawing gave rise to M1's nickname, the Crab Nebula.

course. At 150× with the 10-inch, it's a dim, round smudge.
Eventually, I begin to see the galaxy is elongated east-west,
but that's all. Two prominent 8th-magnitude stars lie 7.0′
north of the galaxy and form an equilateral triangle with it.
The effect is like a little happy face staring at you across the
light-years.
With the night growing old, the winter stars
have begun to rise, and with them Taurus and the
supposedly spectacular M1 (NGC 1952). Unlike
M72, I was able to see our next destination, the
famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant, from
my boyhood backyard. Unfortunately, it didn't
look like the beautiful pictures in the astronomy
books in my school library. There, it was an
amazing vista of intertwining wisps and tendrils
of nebulosity. In my little reflector? It was a faint
oval smudge.
The Crab, which spans 8.0′ × 10.0′ of sky, isn't
terrifically dim, shining at magnitude 8.4. The
problem is it's a nebula. Nothing is harmed more by backyard
light pollution than nebulae. While some can be improved
with light pollution reduction (LPR) filters, not all respond
strongly to filters. Unfortunately, the Crab is one of those.
Use as much telescope aperture on M1 as possible. A
10-inch brings considerable improvement compared to a
4-inch. The nebula is not just brighter; it looks more like an
S shape than a mere oval. I've been able to spot a few more
details, hints of the crab's "claws," the tendrils of gas, from
suburban skies, but it took a 24-inch Dobsonian to do that.
Let's return to Aquarius, which is now riding high, and
end on NGC 7293. The Helix is a huge planetary nebula,
the corpse of a long dead star. Its statistics make it sound



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - September 2018

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Sky and Telescope - September 2018 - Contents
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