February Challenges

NGC 891 – Andromeda

This is one of my all-time favorites.  NGC 891 is a beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy, elongated in the NE-SW direction just west of the bright star Almaak.  Particularly striking is the prominent lane and central bulge.  I really like the way this galaxy takes on a “ghost-like” appearance against the foreground of  stars in the Milky Way.  I’ve made many visits to this object over the years, and know you will too!

NGC 457 – Cassiopeia

NGC 457 is another one of those objects you just can’t get enough of.  It is a brilliant cluster of maybe 30 to 40 stars, with the brightest of the stars forming a stick-man like figure with two brilliant eyes.  The stars phi Cas. and HD 7902 form the eyes and really set the cluster off.   NGC 457 is also known as the Owl cluster and ET cluster (from the Spielberg movie).

NGC 40 – Cepheus

A small but magnificent planetary nebula located in a sparely populated part of the sky in the constellation of Cepheus.  The central white dwarf star (visible) has a magnitude of about 11.2 and is a Wolf-Rayet star.  Wolf-Rayet stars are extremely hot stars with strong stellar winds.  These stars are classified as WC or WN depending upon the abundance of carbon or nitrogen in their atmospheres.   The Wolf-Rayet star of NGC 40 is classified as WC.

Rosette Nebula – Monoceros

The Rosette is an extremely large and somewhat faint emission nebula surrounding a bright open star cluster (NGC 2244 or the Christmas Tree cluster).  The large size of this nebula is it most most impressive characteristic.  It generally fills the FOV in most medium to higher power eyepieces!  Using a UHC or “nebular” filter brings out the detail and complexity of the Rosette, and adds to the pleasure of observing this fine object.


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Butch Demmers


I am a 1980 graduate of CSU Chico with a BA degree in Geology and enjoy science, mathematics, and nature, particularly astronomy and bird watching.


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One thought on “February Challenges

  1. stevem June 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Butchie, can you tell how to adjust the laser site on my Meade 626. Tiger!!!!
    Steve Macejak

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