Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 56

DECEMBER 2020 OBSERVING
Deep-Sky Wonders

The Queen's Kite is a nice binocular
asterism for those who live under skies
compromised by outdoor lighting, and
it's straightforward to locate near Delta
(δ) Cassiopeiae. Dark skies or large
binoculars reveal dim stars that may
overwhelm the asterism's pattern.
The Queen's Kite is easily visible
through 10×30 binoculars from my
moderately light-polluted yard, even
with a crescent Moon in the sky. The
kite is topped by 4.7-magnitude Chi
(χ) Cassiopeiae, and the rest of its
stars are 6th and 7th magnitude. From
Chi, the 2.2°-tall kite slants southeast,
with each corner marked by a star.
Additional stars lie along the kite's
long sides, two in the east and one in
the west, while another star marks
the intersection of the kite's crossbars.
Below the kite's bottom, a solitary
star starts the kite's tail, and farther
south, four faint stars in an east-west
zigzag complete it. The Queen's Kite is
a product of the fertile imagination of
Massachusetts amateur John Davis.
With my 105-mm refractor at 17×,
sweeping about 4° eastward from Delta
Cassiopeiae takes me to a rich starfield
1½° across. The open cluster NGC
743 is a small knot of stars nestled
amid these brighter eyes. At 87× this
is a distinctive cluster of 17 stars, 9th
magnitude and fainter, in a 7′-wide
group. Seven of the brightest stars
X The large emission nebula Sharpless 2-173
lies west-southwest of the bright, bluish star
12 Cassiopeiae.

56

DECEMBER 2 02 0 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

make a broad, eastward-pointing V, and
six stars within the V make a smaller
capital D. In the northern arm of the V,
the star closest to the point is the John
Herschel double h1098 (HJ 1098). The
10th-magnitude primary has a 12thmagnitude companion 18″ to its north.
Our last stop is the petite planetary
nebula IC 1747, located 30′ southeast of
Epsilon (ε) Cassiopeiae. At low magnification, it masquerades as just another
star in an eye-catching, sinusoidal curve
of 11th- and 12th-magnitude stars that
runs east-northeast to west-southwest
for 18′. In my 15-inch reflector at 102×,
IC 1747 sheds its disguise, appearing
fairly bright, small, and round. It's very
nice at 216× - quite bright and softly
annular with a fainter fringe. The
nebula would span half the distance
between two field stars that are 26″

apart. I couldn't see the 15.4-magnitude
central star nor the brighter patches on
the north and south rims of the annulus. Can you?
You don't need a 15-inch scope to
enjoy IC 1747. Impressively, Finnish
amateur Jaakko Saloranta could clearly
see the annulus at 267× with an 8-inch
reflector and O III filter.
Williamina Fleming discovered IC
1747 in 1905 while classifying stars
by examining photographic, objectiveprism spectra. Her description reads,
"Assumed to be the following and
southern of two faint and difficult
objects, which also appears somewhat
hazy. The spectrum consists of a bright
band having wavelength of about 5000.
Therefore, this object has been assumed
to be a gaseous nebula."
„ Contributing Editor SUE FRENCH
wrote this column for the December
2014 issue of Sky & Telescope.

SE A N WA LK ER / S&T

W Finnish stargazer Jaakko Saloranta sketched
IC 1747 as seen through an O III filter on his
8-inch reflector.



Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - December 2020

Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 3
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 4
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 5
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 6
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