Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 43

Spica
α
M104 HD 109584
e
HD 109272
VIRGO
HD 109141
δ
CORVUS
γ
HD 107295
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HYDRA
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M68
Binocular Highlight by Mathew Wedel
Living on the Edge
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CANES
VENAT ICI
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BERENICES
+20°
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ur theme this month is edges, peripheries, and
frontiers. We'll start in the constellation Corvus,
the Crow. Although it holds a few deep-sky objects
for telescopic observers, the cosmic crow doesn't
have a lot to offer binocular observers. But it points
the way to two Messier objects just beyond its borders:
the galaxy M104 and the globular cluster M68.
Let's start with M104. The famous Sombrero
Galaxy lies about 5½° north-northeast of 2.9-magnitude
Delta (δ) Corvi, just over the border into Virgo, the
Maiden. Follow an arc of three 6th- and 7th-magnitude
stars as pointers. Eighth-magnitude M104 looks
almost edge-on (see page 55), and its telescopic
appearance is dominated by the massive dust lane
that defines its visual periphery. M104's glow is concentrated
into an east-west needle, making it one of
the few galaxies for which I can reliably detect an orientation
in 10×50 binoculars. Can you do the same?
Now go back to Corvus and follow the long line
-20°
from Delta to 2.6-magnitude Beta (β) Corvi and
onward into Hydra, the Water Snake. About 3½°
south-southeast of Beta you should spot the 8thmagnitude
globular M68. Like all globulars, M68 will
present only as a hazy round glow in handheld binoculars.
But at roughly 33,000 light-years away, it carries
us off to our Milky Way Galaxy's diffuse halo.
Let's visit one last target, this time in Corvus itself.
WHEN TO
3h
g Sou
USE THE MAP
Late March 2 a.m.*
Early April 1 a.m.*
Late April Midnight*
Early May 11 p.m.*
Late May Nightfall
*Daylight-saving time
Near the bottom of the quadrilateral some 3½° westnorthwest
of Beta, look for Zeta (ζ) Corvi, which
makes a nice binocular double with HD 107295. The
former is a 5.2-magnitude blue-white main sequence
star, and the latter is a 6.0-magnitude yellow-orange
giant a bit less than 6′ to the northwest. See if you can
detect that subtle color difference in your binoculars.
¢ MATT WEDEL loves galaxies as much as the next
person, but he is ready for the summer Milky Way.
sk yand tele scope .o r g * MAY 2024 43
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May 11
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 3
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