Category: Deepsky observing

Friday, February 25, 2011
Rigel and Betelgeuse
On february 8th 2011 I made sketches of Rigel and Betelgeuse. Both stars were observed through the Orion Optics 300mm. The sketch of Rigel represents a field of view of 52' and a magnification of 94x (17mm Nagler Type 4). The sketch of Betelgeuse represents a field of view of 37' and a magnification of 133x (12mm Nagler Type 4). South is up and east is to the left.





Posted by Math on 02/25 at 09:30 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Observing Orion
In the last few weeks I observed a few interesting objects in Orion. I started in januari with Collinder 70, Orions Belt. Last week I had a look at Collinder 69 and Collinder 72, one of Steven James O'Meara's hidden treasures. Today I added another three wonderful objects to my sketchbook: Rigel, Betelgeuse and Collinder 65.

Rigel was observed with the 12 inch dobson. The double star did not show itself as a double initially, due to a lot of turbulence in the tube (the scope was just outside for a few minutes. However, after switching on the fan, the weaker B companion popped into view, just like that. The image was stable right from the moment the fan started to make a laminar flow in the 12-inch tube. Amazing. Betelgeuse was also observed with the twelve inch, and the deep orange color was simply overwhelming, especially at lowest power. However, in the 85mm Zeiss, the color looked even much deeper than in the 12-inch.

Collinder 65 is a large open cluster, which actually belongs to Taurus, but lies on the Orion-Taurus border. I observed and sketched this large open cluster (3.3 degrees) using the Skywindow and the 8x42 Orion binoculars, field of view 8.2 degrees. Until a few days ago I didn't know this cluster was actually there, but when scanning the area between Collinder 69 and Messier 1, you cannot miss it. You immediately will recognize it as a cluster.

In the next few weeks I hope to publish my observing reports and sketches on On the map below you can see where the objects I observed can be found.


image from Voyager by Capellasoft

Posted by Math on 02/08 at 08:14 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky binocular | Deepsky log | Deepsky observing | Print
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Markarian 6
A few weeks ago I observed a very small and bright open cluster on the edge of the Heart Nebula in Cassiopeia, Markarian 6. The cluster looks more like a small asterism than a real open cluster, as you can see on the sketch below. Follow this link to my other website,, for the complete observing report, finderchart, and a beautiful image of the heart-nebula by Dominique Suys (thanks Dominique for granting me permission to use your image for my report!)


Posted by Math on 02/01 at 07:12 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Monday, January 17, 2011
The belt of Orion
At the end of 2010 I added three new objects to my StarObserver website. The two open clusters: NGC 129 and Stephenson 1 and a very interesting triple star, 40 Eridani. Just click on the links to have a look at some very interesting facts and stories on these fascinating objects.

Last week I made my first ever sketch of an OB Association, Orion OB1b, also know as Collinder 70, or just as The Belt of Orion. This large group of stars is a perfect binoculars. It is centred on the three bright belt-stars of Orion, and offers stunning views. I observed them with my 8x42 (8.2 degrees FOV), 12x60 (5.6 degrees FOV) and the 15x80 (3.5 degrees FOV). In the end I used the SkyWindow and my 15x80 to make this sketch. In time an article about this wonderfull object will be added to my website, but for now, here’s the sketch to enjoy.


Posted by Math on 01/17 at 04:31 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Deepsky in the Dordogne
In the first week of October I visited the Dordogne together with two other deepsky observers, Jo and Angelo. We rented a holiday home from Ad Mathijs from Astro Techniek. We were very lucky with the weather during this week. In the daytime it was almost every day between the 20 and 25 degrees, and the nights were very mild and......... clear! 5 nights out of seven on which we were able to observe. We had two big telescopes with us. Angelo took his 10-inch Meade and Jo had his 12-inch Orion Optics UK telescope for the deepsky and the Coronado PST for solar observations. I used the 14-inch telescope that comes with the holiday home. We also had a range of binoculars with us, an 8x42, 12x60, 12x80, and 15x80. Al could be mounted on the SkyWindow.
Posted by Math on 10/23 at 04:25 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
Monday, June 07, 2010
Observing the Pleiades with binoculars

Last winter I made a detailed sketch of the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus. The sketch was made outdoors using a felt-tip pen and white copy paper. Later this spring I scanned the sketch and processed it using Photoshop. The instrument used during the observation was an 8x42 wide angle binocular, with a field of view of 8.2 degrees, mounted on the SkyWindow mirror mount. For a detailed observing report and further background info, please visit my website dedicated to double stars and open clusters,


Click on the image to enlarge

Posted by Math on 06/07 at 03:36 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky binocular | Deepsky observing | Print
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Observing deepsky objects with a binoviewer......
I finally had a chance to test my new binoviewer on some deepsky objects, and I must admit, it did not disappoint me. Of course the binoviewer is not very useful on the larger open clusters or on double stars, but on objects with some kind of "surface" like planetary nebulae and globular clusters, it is definitely an improvement over the view with just a single eye. I had a look at three globulars, M13 and M92 in Hercules and M56 in Lyra. All objects were viewed at a magnification of 217x.

M13 was simply stunning, watching it drift across the field like a giant spider with several legs of stars stretching out from the crowded centre, a very large and attractive globular cluster. M92 was a very different story. Compared to M13, M92 is very compact, with not so many outlying stars, but with a very bright core. M56 surprised me. Until now, from my suburban backyard, it looked very dim, a faint smudge of light with little or no detail. But now, even during the period we call the grey nights (it doesn't get really dark), I saw M56 partially resolved in individual stars, thanks to the observation with both eyes.

Below you see a comparison of the three globular clusters from the POSS-1. The National Geographic Society - Palomar Observatory Sky Atlas (POSS-I) was made by the California Institute of Technology with grants from the National Geographic Society. All three images cover an area of 1 degree by 1 degree.


After the globular clusters I had a go at a few planetary nebulae, The Blinking planetary (NGC 6826) and Hidden Treasure 78 (NGC6210). The sight of the blinking planetary amazed me. For the first time ever I saw this small nebula in full color, right at first site. A small blue-green patch of light. During earlier observations of this nebula, I always had trouble to see the color. NGC 6210 in Hercules was jumping at me with a bright blue color. Is it easier to see color with two eyes?

After tonight I definitely know that the binoviewer will be used for observing smaller deepsky objects like globulars, planetary nebulae and galaxies. But I am also very curious what this binoviewer will do on extended nebulae, like M42 or M17.

Posted by Math on 06/06 at 10:21 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Equipment | Deepsky observing | Print
Monday, November 30, 2009
Update on
Hi all,

I have to apologize that I have not posted a lot in 2009, but due to some personal things, my time was very limited. I did however put a lot of effort in, my new website about observing stars and starclusters. Right now I have documented 24 objects which I have observed in the last year, with sketches and very detailed observing reports: 12 open clusters and 12 stellar objects. In the next few months a hope to add a group of asterisms. Very recently I added a "search engine" to and an article about my observing reports. Just have a look at my new site. Any tips and/or comments are of course appreciated.

And here's a sketch of M44 that made it into Astronomy Sketch of the Day:


Anyway, I hope to post a little more in my blog again in the next months.

Clear skies to all of you..........

Posted by Math on 11/30 at 08:27 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky observing | Print
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