Easy Deep Sky Targets for UK Observers – October 2016
While it is true that there is no substitute for aperture when it comes to observing deep sky objects, you don’t need a monstrously big telescope to enjoy some of the most spectacularly beautiful deep sky objects that are visible from the UK – weather permitting of course!
As this guide will show, all that is needed is a modest pair of binoculars or a small telescope to bring star clusters, planetary nebulae, double stars, and other deep sky objects into plain view. Below are some details of what can be viewed in some prominent constellations viewable from the UK this October.
English Name: The Chained Maiden
Location: Between the constellations of Cassiopeia and Pegasus.
Visible between latitudes: +90 and -40 degrees
Best season to view: Autumn
Best seen during: October/November
Right Ascension (RA): 01 hour
Declination (DEC): +40 degrees
Messier objects: M31, M32, and M110
Objects of interest:
Andromeda contains two easy targets for binoculars and small telescopes. Below are some details:
Right ascension: 01h 57m 55s
Declination: + 37° 51′ 57″
Also known as Caldwell 28, this large open cluster is located about 1 300 light years away, and may be visible without optical aid under excellent seeing conditions. Small to medium telescopes will resolve about 60 stars in the cluster, although none is brighter than 9th magnitude.
Right ascension: 23h 25m 54s
Declination: + 42° 32′ 6″
Although the distance to NGC 7662 is not known with any degree of accuracy, this planetary nebula remains a favourite target for amateur observers using small telescopes. Instruments of 6-inch aperture at magnification of about 100 × will resolve a distinct disc with a bluish tinge, while 12-inch and larger instruments will resolve some colour variation and differing levels of brightness within the nebula.
Both of these targets should be viewable on a dark, clear night if the conditions are right. If you’re fortunate enough to see them, try taking some photos using an adapter on your telescopes eyepiece. There’s lots of affordable adapters available to buy online and new there’s even some excellent lower cost telescopes by Celestron with an integrated smartphone adapter that would normally be associated with higher price tagged equipment. These have shown to give suprisingly great results.
If you manage to get some great shots, share them with us. We’d love to see what images you have managed to get of the NG752 cluster and the stunning NG7662 Blue Snowball Nebula.