October Backyard Objects

Alright, I have selected some targets for those who observe mainly in their backyards that they can go after. These include several Open Clusters that you could do with the Moon going through its waxing phases.  The objects are Messier 103, a beautiful open cluster in Cassiopeia and Messier 52 that will give those new to star hopping an opportunity to get to know how to do that better.  NGC 225 in Cassiopeia is another fun open cluster, called the Sailboat Cluster by many, see if you can see the Sailboat asterism here. Messier 34 in Perseus is another wonderful Open Cluster and then we move to a more challenging object, Messier 74 in Pisces. Wonderful face on spiral galaxy but for some it will be a challenge object this month. Messier 76 in Perseus is on the list, the Little Dumbbell Planetary Nebula that will respond well with either a OIII or UHC filter, but you can determine which view is better for you.  We are including yet another open cluster, Messier 45 or the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Use binoculars, wide field eyepieces or your finderscope to observe this fall and winter wonder.  Last is NGC 1514 the Crystal Ball Nebula in Perseus that may also prove to be a challenging object for some of you. It is a Planetary Nebula and will respond well to the OIII or UHC but again, you can choose for yourself which one works.

I invite you to go to the NGC Database to look up the NGC LINK or go to the NGC Database and look under their Messier Catalog for descriptions by Steve Gottlieb and others. Messier  LINK. Compare them to your own view after you have observed and recorded your observation of these objects. I will apologize up front but these are not in the order I listed above and I am too tired to re-organize how the images uploaded. Also, I would view them in the order I listed them above or one close to it, including the Cassiopeia objects together and the Perseus objects together. If you get frustrated, stop, go do something fun and come back later to trying to find the object. Remember to align your findercharts correctly to the sky.

1. Messier 34 Open Cluster in Perseus. This is a semi large open cluster that is pretty to observe adn has good details to view. The charts will show you my hop to them but you can look at them and decide on your own star hop if you wish.

2. Messier 45 the Pleiades or Seven Sisters in Taurus. I highly recommend binoculars or a smaller refractor with a wide field for viewing this gem of the fall and winter sky.  

3. Messier 52 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia.  Near the Bubble Nebula and if your skilled, Cassiopeia A remnant. Fun open cluster to practice star hopping on! 

 4. Messier 74, a Face On Spiral Galaxy in Pisces. A wonderful spiral galaxy that is face on to us and presents structure and an arm that is visible. Bright core! Go for this one if your able to view Pisces. Don't go after it with the Moon beyond first quarter or in heavy light pollution (then again, try it if you want and see what you can see).

5. Messier 76 The Little Dumbbell a Planetary Nebula in Perseus. This PN responds well to filters, you can determine which one is best, the OIII or UHC Narrowband and why.  Fun object and I have gotten this in my 10 inch dob in my backyard many times. More detail is evident the darker skies you have. You can go down from the arm of Perseus or up from the top star at the end of Andromeda (which is how I recommend you do it) or find your own hop! 

6. Messier 103 Open Cluster in Cassiopeia. Easy to find from Caph in Cassiopeia and in mildly dark skies there is some nice color in this open cluster. This is one of my favorite open clusters personally. 

7. NGC 225 The Sailboat Open Cluster in Cassiopeia. Cute and fun open cluster to find, and not to hard to find it either. The triangle shape of the sail should be easy to spot as is the base of the boat. So, can you see the Sailboat asterism or do you see something else? 

8. NGC 1514 The Crystal Ball Nebula, or another Planetary Nebula in Perseus. Yep, I love galaxies, and yep, I also love Planetary Nebula. This is a wonderful find if you have the aperture for it. Try blinking your OIII filter and UHC filter on this one, the PN will respond to that. Also, observe the PN with both filters and record how the PN responds to each. There is a difference. This may be a border line dark sky object but give it a try if you want from your backyard! 

There you go. Eight fun October Objects to hunt down and to explore! Hope you like them and enjoy finding them and observing and perhaps recording what you see in some medium! Clear skies to you!