Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 54

ALAN DYER
JANUARY 2022 OBSERVING
Suburban Stargazer by Ken Hewitt-White
room to spare. I love aiming the scope
at the Minnow's tail, marked by 5thmagnitude
14 Aurigae, a lovely double
star also known as Struve (Σ) 653.
Upping to 72× snares a 7.3-magnitude
blue-white companion 14″ southwest of
the 5.0-magnitude yellow primary. Last
winter, I turned to my 8-inch reflector
and discovered that Σ653 is a triple
treasure - 100× picked up a 10.9-magnitude
tertiary star a scant 10″ north of
the gleaming primary.
The brightest star in the Minnow,
A Milky Way Chariot Ride
Have a cool time touring the Leaping Minnow region of
southern Auriga.
W
inter can be tough on astronomers.
Across much of the
northern United States and Canada, the
" Orion months " tend to be pretty darn
cold. My situation in southwestern British
Columbia, a few snowdrifts north of
the 49th parallel, is typical - the night
sky above my frosted suburban home
is compromised by light pollution and
chimney smoke.
Fortunately, even modest telescopes
can pull in a variety of celestial
treasures throughout the winter. I'm
especially attracted to the cluster-filled
portion of the Milky Way that spills
through Auriga, the Charioteer. Join me
as I take my 4¼- and 8-inch Newtonian
reflectors for a short journey into the
Auriga Milky Way.
Fishing for Minnows
The constellation's pentagon-shaped
pattern is outlined by a half-dozen 2ndand
3rd-magnitude stars, plus zero54
JANUARY 2022 * SKY & TELESCOPE
WINTER'S CHARIOTEER The pentagonshaped
constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer,
sits astride the winter Milky Way. Dominated
by zero-magnitude Capella, Auriga is easy to
locate high in the east on January evenings.
magnitude Capella. On the moonless
evenings of early January, 2022, the big,
bold Charioteer is well placed halfway
up the eastern sky. Let's get in there.
Our tour begins at the pentagon's
southern end, where an optical finderscope
or binoculars will reveal a
1.6°-long asterism of 5th- and 6thmagnitude
stars dubbed the Leaping
Minnow. The slender Minnow swims in
a northeasterly direction - a parallelogram
of four stars at the top forms the
Minnow's head, while two loners - one
at the center, another at the bottom are
its body and tail. The sextet dominates a
large, coarse clump of three-dozen suns
called Melotte 31, or Mel 31, for short.
My 4¼-inch reflector operating at
20× captures Mel the Minnow with
4.5-magnitude 16 Aurigae, is a kind
of guidepost. Slightly more than 11′
northeast of this orangey beacon is a
double named Espin 59, whose 8.5- and
9.6-magnitude components are separated
by 14″. Less than 14′ west-southwest
of 16 Aurigae is a much tougher
tandem. Σ666 features 7.9-magnitude
twins 3.2″ apart. In the 4¼-inch at
93×, the sibling suns appear as two dots
almost in contact, while in the 8-inch
at essentially the same power they're a
nicely spaced set of headlights.
Finally, I always cast my gaze 40′ east
of orangey 16 Aurigae to locate Espin
332. Consisting of 8.9- and 9.6-magnitude
components nearly 15″ apart,
Espin 332 is just another garden-variety
double - indeed, a virtual copy of Espin
59. But I consider the easterly Espin
helpful because it's the easy-to-spot
doublet centering a bent row of three
9th-magnitude stars that lead right into
our next target.
Subtle Pleasures
The target in question is NGC 1893, an
ill-defined cluster half-submerged in
the Milky Way. The scattered members
of this 10′-wide group are faint - I can
detect only the central half of NGC
1893 from my suburban observing site.
Conveniently, a triangle of 9th-magnitude
stars, roughly 13′ wide, neatly
frames the visible loot.
In my 4¼-inch at 20×, NGC 1893
is a teasingly granular haze surrounding
a 9.8-magnitude lucida. The 72×
view suggests a loose crowd of very
weak stars inside the triangle. My larger
scope produces 20 participants, some
in teeny pairs. Revved up to 135×, the

Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 5
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 8
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA3
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