Observation Challenges for January

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Year Beginner Intermediate Advanced Lunar
2021 Messier 45
Open star cluster in the constellation Taurus
Also known as the Pleiades
~444ly away
Visible to the naked eye under suburban skies, great binocular target
Spiral galaxy in Cetus
52Mly away
11.4 apparent magnitude
7.6’x2.7’ apparent size
Irregular dwarf galaxy in Cetus
9.9 apparent magnitude
2.4 Mly away
16.2’ x 14.5’ apparent size
Large, but low surface brightness
Mare Cognitum
Ancient lunar impact crater
350km diameter
Landing site of Ranger 7 lunar probe
2020 Messier 64
AKA “Black Eye Galaxy”
Spiral Galaxy in Coma Berenices
~8th magnitude
10.7’ x 5.1’ apparent size
NGC 5529
Spiral Galaxy in Boötes
11th Magnitude in brightness
6.2’ x 0.8’ apparent size
NGC 6578
Planetary Nebula in Sagittarius
13.5th magnitude
8”x8” size
Crater Catharina
Ancient lunar impact crater
Located near Rupes Altai
100km wide
3.1km deep
2019 M42 - The Orion Nebula
Star forming nebula in the
constellation Orion
Forms part of the “sword” of Orion, hanging just off Orion’s fashionable belt
Easy object in binoculars, and a wonderful object to look at in any telescope
Abell 12
Planetary nebula in Orion
Magnitude 13.9 in brightness
About 37” in size
Very close to Mu Orionis — requires a clear night as any haze in the sky mMay require an UHC or O-III filter to help bring it out of the glare
Abell Galaxy Cluster 426
Galaxy Cluster in Perseus
Many Galaxies in the cluster, How many can you spot?
18 NGC Objects, 11 UGC Objects, 6 IC Objects, 1 PGC Object
Craters Armstrong, Aldrin & Collins
Located within Mare Tranquillitatis near the Apollo 11 landing site.
Best viewed on lunar days 5 & 19
Armstrong crater is about 5km in diameter, Collins & Aldrin about 3
km each.