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Spring Objects

Spring Star Chart


M44

Although it lies in a barren part of the sky, at mag 3.1 this cluster is bright enough to be quite easily seen naked-eye from a dark-sky. If your sky isn't so dark, try scanning along an imaginary line from Regulus in Leo to Pollux in Gemini and look for a triangular shaped group of a dozen or so stars.

Coma Berenices

This rather large group of stars lies between Leo and Bootes. It's made up of several chains of mag 5-6 stars that are said to be the amber tresses of Queen Berenice's hair, offered to the god Aphrodite for the safe return of her beloved king from battle.

M81

The spring sky is full of galaxies, a few of them are bright enough to be seen in binoculars. To find M81, first locate Gamma and Alpha Ursa Major, the two of the stars that make up the bowl of the Big Dipper. Now follow an imaginary line connecting the two as far as they are apart. You should see a faint smudge in your binoculars. This is probably the toughest object in the list to find and so you'll need to be under a dark sky. Then, make sure the moon has already set and that Ursa Major is up high near the zenith. Persistence and a good chart should do the rest.

M3

Although this globular cluster is in reality made up of a half-million stars, in binoculars it appears as little more than a fuzzy star located about half way between Canes Venatici and Arcturus, the bright yellow star in Bootes.

Mu Booti

This a double star that is easily split in binoculars. It's located at the top of Bootes just above Delta.

M13

This is the most well-know globular cluster in the northern hemisphere. Like M3, it contains hundreds of thousands of stars. Binoculars only hint at the majesty of this object. Look for an out-of-focus star below Eta, one of the keystone stars in Hercules. Note the two 7th magnitude stars lying on either side.

Nu Draconis

This is another easy double to split in binoculars. The 4 stars that make up the head of Draco lie just above Hercules. Nu is the faintest of the four. Now take the chart and try tracing out the rest of the constellation.

Alpha Libra

Libra is a little diamond shaped constellation located south of Bootes. Alpha is the brightest and westernmost star and is an easy double to split in binoculars.

M5

A globular that's not as well know as M13 but that is every bit as big and bright. Look about 2 1/2 fields north of Beta Librae the top most star in Libra and what looks like a fuzzy star should be visible in your binoculars, hiding amongst the stars of neighbouring Serpens.


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