Monday, November 07, 2005
Celestial Christmas Trees
Although its another 6 weeks till Christmas, you already can enjoy the view of three celestial Christmas trees around this time of the year: M 39 in Cygnus, M 103 in Cassiopeia and NGC 2264 in Monoceros. However, if you want to observe all three in one night, start early in the evening and stay up until way after midnight.

1. M 39 (NGC 7092)
At the end of October / the beginning of November Cygnus is high in the southwestern sky around 20.00 hours UT. You can find M 39 about 9 degrees to the east-northeast of Deneb, the bright star marking the tail of the Swan. Although M 39 fits in the 48’ field of view of my telescope 8-inch Klevtzov, I find that M 39 is at its best in my 15x80 binoculars (f.o.v. 3.5 degrees). With plenty of space surrounding the cluster, M 39 stands out nicely from the neighboring star fields and its triangular shape makes it look like ......... a Christmas tree. M 39 has a diameter of 31’ and visual magnitude of 4.6. In the 15x80 I see about 20 to 25 stars ranging from magnitude 7 to 10, a very pretty sight.
Posted by Math on 11/07 at 01:26 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print