NASA Night Sky Notes July 2021

NASA Night Sky Notes July 2021
This article is distributed by NASA Night Sky Network
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Observe the Milky Way and Great Rift

David Prosper

Summer skies bring glorious views of our own Milky Way galaxy to observers blessed with dark skies. For many city dwellers, their first sight of the Milky Way comes during trips to rural areas – so if you are traveling away from city lights, do yourself a favor and look up!
To observe the Milky Way, you need clear, dark skies, and enough time to adapt your eyes to the dark. Photos of the Milky Way are breathtaking, but they usually show far more detail and color than the human eye can see – that’s the beauty and quietly deceptive nature of long exposure photography. For Northern Hemisphere observers, the most prominent portion of the Milky Way rises in the southeast as marked by the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius. Take note that, even in dark skies, the Milky Way isn’t easily visible until it rises a bit above the horizon and the thick, turbulent air which obscures the view. The Milky Way is huge, but is also rather faint, and our eyes need time to truly adjust to the dark and see it in any detail. Try not to check your phone while you wait, as its light will reset your night vision. It’s best to attempt to view the Milky Way when the Moon is at a new or crescent phase; you don’t want the Moon’s brilliant light washing out any potential views, especially since a full Moon is up all night.
Keeping your eyes dark adapted is especially important if you want to not only see the haze of the Milky Way, but also the dark lane cutting into that haze, stretching from the Summer Triangle to Sagittarius. This dark detail is known as the Great Rift, and is seen more readily in very dark skies, especially dark, dry skies found in high desert regions. What exactly is the Great Rift? You are looking at massive clouds of galactic dust lying between Earth and the interior of the Milky Way. Other “dark nebulae” of cosmic clouds pepper the Milky Way, including the famed Coalsack, found in the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Crux. Many cultures celebrate these dark clouds in their traditional stories along with the constellations and Milky Way.
Where exactly is our solar system within the Milky Way? Is there a way to get a sense of scale? The “Our Place in Our Galaxy” activity can help you do just that, with only birdseed, a coin, and your imagination: You can also discover the amazing science NASA is doing to understand our galaxy – and our place in it – at

The Great Rift is shown in more detail in this photo of a portion of the Milky Way along with the bright stars of the Summer Triangle. You can see why it is also called the “Dark Rift.” Credit: NASA / A.Fujii

If the Milky Way was shrunk down to the size of North America, our entire Solar System would be about the size of a quarter. At that scale, the North Star, Polaris – which is about 433 light years distant from us – would be 11 miles away! Find more ways to visualize these immense sizes with the Our Place in Our Galaxy activity:
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Sky Targets for March 2021

Telescopius sends out monthly target during monthly new moon.

The first target is both NGC2238 and Rosette Nebula which are within the same nebula. Next is a Globular Cluster NGC5053 in the constellation Coma Berenices. Followed by HCG 44 a Galaxy Cluster in the constellation Leo. The Flaming Star Nebula located in the constellation Auriga.

The Cone Nebula located in the constellation Monoceros. Another nebula in the same constellation is NGC2239. How about grabbing a Barred Spiral Galaxy, NGC 4559 in the constellation Come Berenices.

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What’s In the Sky in March 2021

From Orion Telescopes monthly newsletter:

Orion Continues to Shine
Constellation Orion is still well-placed in March skies for telescopic study. Check out bright nebula M42, also called the Orion Nebula, which is visible as the middle “star” of Orion’s “sword” just south of the three recognizable stars of Orion’s belt. While easily detected in astronomy binoculars, the wispy Orion Nebula will reveal more intricate details in a telescope. After March, our namesake constellation will get lower and lower in the west, making it harder to see as the Sun moves eastward in the sky.

New Moon
New Moon comes on March 13th, making it the best night in March for viewing faint deep sky objects.

Morning Planetary Group
March 10th brings a nice group of planets. Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and the Moon will all be grouped together. Get up early, grab a telescope and take a look!

Brilliant Binocular Clusters
Grab a pair of 50mm or larger astronomy binoculars in March for great views of the Pleiades star cluster (M45), the Beehive cluster (M44), and the must-see Double Cluster in Perseus. These sparkling sky gems are simply beautiful when observed with big binoculars, or use a wide-field eyepiece and short focal length telescope for a closer look.

Galaxies Galore
By about 9-10pm throughout March, Ursa Major, Leo, and the western edge of the Virgo galaxy cluster are high enough in the eastern sky to yield great views of some of our favorite galaxies. Check out the bright pair of M81 and M82 just above the Big Dipper asterism. Look east of bright star Regulus to observe the Leo Triplet of galaxies M65, M66, and NGC 3628. In the northeastern sky, check out the famous Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). While the Whirlpool can be seen with modest 50mm binoculars, using a 10″ or 12″ telescope in a location with dark skies will display the distant galaxy’s beautiful spiral arms. With an 8″ or larger telescope and a dark sky this region of the sky harbors dozens of galaxies — try to find them all! “

Read More at:

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Mini Messier Marathon

Since we are still in a covid environment, if you want to participate in the Messier Marathon, it starts on March 10 through the 16th. You can download the list and see how many you can bag every night. If the weather is nice, I plan to pull the roof on my observatory and grab the messier objects I can. I am limited to 20 degree views, so some of them I have to wait till they come over the observatory. Of course this all depends on the weather.

Wallys is still not open for viewing, due to snow and ground conditions. We also hesitant to start up any viewing parties until maybe August or September of this year. We need to keep everyone safe, let’s see how this all pans out.

You can down load the list from this website:

Or this one that I use from the Denver Astronomy Club,

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By admin | February 26, 20210 Comment

One week to capture 110 Messier Objects

From March 10-16, 2021, astronomers and space-lovers worldwide are invited to participate in a record-setting world’s largest*Messier marathon:A race to observe all 110 Messier objects in one evening . For space-lovers who can’t spare an over-night,Unistellar has developed numerous mini marathons which can be completed in as little as one hour of observation time.

MOUNTAIN VIEW AND MARSEILLE – February 25, 2021 – Astronomers across North America, Europe and Japan have joined forces for a friendly competition to observe iconic deep-sky objects—all in hopes of getting stargazers curious about astronomy in March.

Messier Marathon Week, hosted by Unistellar and now in its second year, challenges stargazers to observe as many Messier objects as possible in one night. Events take place March 10 – 16, 2021, the only time of year that all Messier objects are visible in one night. If enough stargazers participate, Unistellar hopes to set a world record for the largest Messier Marathon event.

Some of the world’s leading astronomy institutions have signed up for the Unistellar Marathon, giving stargazers across multiple contents and languages access to diverse perspectives on space. Organizations including the SETI Institute plan to participate, either by attempting a Messier marathon or by sharing their best Messier observations.

Unistellar Marathon Website

For more information please click link above.

Whats a Messier Object or a list, visit

Wikipedia- Messier Objects Wikipedia – Messier

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Welcome To Our New Webpage

I had to end up changing the format, we were using a older software program and an update in the dbase was done which made both our main, member and gallery sites unavailable.

All have been upgrade but could not import the older data that we had, I managed to save the club gallery but no the websites. So we have to start a new.

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