Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for August

Sky and Telescope's "Pocket Sky Atlas" is a wonderful resource for all amateur astronomers. These challenges are designed for spicing up your observing.

Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for August - John Kulczycki

Sky and Telescope Magazine's "Pocket Sky Atlas" has found a place in the tool kit of many amateur astronomers. The convenient size makes it easy to use at the telescope without requiring a separate chart table.

For urban astronomers, the charts are sufficient for the brighter stars visible under urban skies; the charts offer enough detail for star hops with telescopes or binoculars. When taking advantage of a dark sky location, the details of the charts allow for hours of wanderings per page depending on the size of the telescope and the skill of the operator.

These challenge objects are indexed to the star chart pages containing those objects. The idea is to have fun and perhaps expand your observing past the "usual suspects" that can be found because of past experiences. Seeing conditions may not allow finding these objects every night, but they should be visible at some point during the month.

The August Sky

Nights are getting a bit longer and darkness comes a little sooner each evening. It seems there is a little more time to observe as summer reaches half life. The sky looks just that much darker through midnight and offers opportunities to peer deeper into the galactic mists. August 12th marks the Perseids' Meteor Shower, a good time to try and capture some meteor trails with your camera.

Last moment camping trips and over night outings bring opportunities for late summer whole sky observing. Don’t forget you Pocket Sky Atlas, even if you don’t bring an instrument with you. Even naked eye session help you map the night sky in your mind.

Toward the end of the month there will be those who will lament summer’s passing; but those who see the glass half full, will look forward to the longer, cooler nights of September and start planning observing or photographic projects now.

I’ve indexed the object to the star chart page it’s on so this should be easy hunting.

Naked Eye:

  • M31, Page 3 (find a really nice dark site).
  • Nekkar (Mag. 3.5 star)Page 53.
  • Antares (Mag. 1 star)Page 56.
  • Zubenelgenubi (Mag. 3 star) Page 57.
  • Shaula, Page 58.
  • Lesath, Page 58.

Small Scopes and binoculars:

  • Zubenelgenubi, (Can you see the double?) Page 57.
  • M5, Page 57.
  • Struve 2474, Page 63.
  • Struve 2470, Page 63.
  • CR 350 Page 67.
  • Herschel’s Garnet Star, Page 71,
  • NGC 7662, Page 72

Larger Scopes:

  • M31, 32,101and NGC 206, Page 3.
  • IC 4593, Page 55 (photo op).
  • M75, Page 66.
  • M55, Page 66.
  • M11, Page 67.
  • M7, Page 69.

Bonus Objects:

  • NGC 6235, Page 56.
  • NGC 5813, Page 57.
  • NGC 7008 Page 62.
  • UGC 10822 Page 63.

Happy Hunting!

John Kulczycki