M5 Globular Cluster

Messier 5 or M5 is a globular cluster in the constellation Serpens. It was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1702. M5 is faintly visible to the naked eye. Using a small telescope it will reveal itself as a dense globular cluster of stars. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 stars in the cluster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_5

The centre of the M5 Globular Cluster is in our Milky Way galaxy, about 24,500 light-years away. Clearly, there is a gravitational influence in M5, and it extends about 200 light years.

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M5 is visible in the evening during the summer. By mid summer, look towards the west, high in the early evening, and lower in the late evening. Late in the evening, it is almost midway between Arcturus in the west and Antares rising in the south-west.

With a telescope, look for the looping lines of stars, reminding one of a loosely wound ball of yarn, and suggesting a very complex gravitational influence.

M42: The Orion Nebula

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M42 is situated in the constellation of Orion, which dominates the winter evening sky in the northern hemisphere. Three bright stars form the Belt of Orion at the centre, and below this are three fainter stars appearing like a sword suspended from the belt. The Orion Nebula is faintly visible to the naked eye under good viewing conditions, and appears as a faint grey smudge near the centre of the sword.

The Orion Nebula is the most frequently investigated deep space object, and is the darling of amateur astronomers. Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada, we had exceptionally clear skies at our observing site in the Laurentien Mountains, and we captured a beautiful photo of the Orion Nebula a few hours after midnight.

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Aside from the stunning beauty of this deep space object, it has provided science with information on the formation and death of stars, and the complex chemistry of nebulae.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Nebula

M57: The Ring Nebula

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The Ring Nebula, Messier 57, is located in the constellation of Lyra and is, indeed ring-shaped. It was formed from gas ejected by a dying star barely visible at the centre of the ring.

This deep space object was quite faint, and we find it remarkable that Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix and Charles Messier could actually see this with telescopes in 1779.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_Nebula

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M27: The Dumbbell Nebula

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It is interesting that it was originally called the “Dumbbell Nebula”, but when telescopes and astrophotography produced more detail, it took the nickname “Apple Core Nebula”, because the faint inner core is surrounded by a fainter red sphere, like the skin of an apple.

In this latest photo, you can see the very faint lines of the apple’s red skin surrounding the core.

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“This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arcminutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbbell_Nebula

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

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The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth in the Andromeda constellation. Also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy.

The Andromeda Galaxy is currently visible with binoculars high overhead in the evening sky. Look for the prominent “W” shape of the Cassiopeia constellation, swing to the square box of Perseus, and to the “V” of Andromeda, where you will find the faint blurry smudge of this deep space object.
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Milky Way on a moonless evening

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A wide-field time exposure of the Milky Way on 2013-08-04.

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“The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter which contains approximately 100–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well.”

“The Solar System is located within the disk, about 27,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of a spiral-shaped concentration of gas and dust called the Orion Arm.”

Wikipedia: The Milky Way

Ouareau Forest Deep Space Observatory

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This is an 11 inch Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope that is operational in a forested region north of Montreal in Canada. The greatest asset of this observatory is the clarity of the night sky.

This observatory will capture deep-space images and publish them in social media in a manner both scientific and artistic. The goal of the observatory is to use social media to encourage its social community to engage the night sky with imagination, and to regard deep space as a place that challenges your assumptions, challenges your values.

The observatory is mobile, and will use different local sites as deemed suitable for observing the portion of the sky being photographed.

The observatory will be operational in mid-summer 2013.