May 2019 Astronotes available

This month we are introducing what I hope will become a regular feature. We would really like your feedback on it as well as any suggestions you might have for future issues. See the PDF here.

Some member-submitted photos from last month

Markarian's Chain captured by Paul Klauninger

Markarian's Chain is a stretch of galaxies that forms part of the Virgo Cluster. When viewed from Earth, the galaxies lie along a smoothly curved line. Charles Messier first discovered two of the galaxies, M84 and M86, in 1781. The other galaxies seen in the chain were discovered by William Herscheland are now known primarily by their catalog numbers in John Louis Emil Dreyer's New General Catalogue, published in 1888. It was ultimately named after the Armenian astrophysicist, Benjamin Markarian, who discovered their common motion in the early 1960s.[3] Member galaxies include M84 (NGC 4374), M86 (NGC 4406), NGC 4477, NGC 4473, NGC 4461, NGC 4458, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435. It is located at RA 12h 27m and Dec +13° 10′.

The bright members of the chain are visible through small telescopes. Larger telescopes can be used to view the fainter galaxies.

Photo: Paul Klauninger. Description from Wikipedia.

Mars near Pleides, imaged by Harald Simkover

The image shows the planet Mars close to the Pleiades star cluster, which is approximately 440 light years from our solar system. It was taken on the evening of April 1, 2019, from the Gatineau Park, about 20 kilometers north of Ottawa. I used a Nikon D5100 camera and a 200 mm. Nikkor lens, at F5.6. The exposure was 20 seconds at ISO 4000. The camera tracked the stars with an iOptron SkyTracker. Over the past week or so, Mars has been gliding close to the Pleiades. Next month, on May 18th and 19th, it will be very close to the star cluster M35, thus providing another excellent photographic opportunity for a "pretty pair".

Photo and description: Harald Simkover.