Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for March

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 March - 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.

March Sky

March finds most astronomers pining for warm weather to go with nights that are long enough to do some serious observing: any possibility for a reasonable night of observing is welcome. Alas, March would rather tease us with few good observing opportunities and cause us to work on our virtue of patience and improve our self control. Beware of being idle in March!

Fight back!

Take from the March sky all you can by being ready to observe whenever the opportunity arises. Be prepared for those nights by making up lists of objects you might want to visit ahead of time. To get the most out of your observing sessions, try to arrange the lists so that each has objects in a close neighborhood. Remember: even a small slice of sky is just packed full cosmic goodies!

And, if you have a green telescope, there is no better time to bring it out than on the 17th of the month.

I’ve indexed the object to its star chart page.

Naked Eye

Arneb, Page 16.

Zaurak, Page 17.

Acubens, Page 24.

All of Gemini, page 25.

Sirius, Mirzam, Adhara and Aludra, Page 27 .

Small Scopes and binoculars

Mirfak, Page 13.

10UMa, Page 22.

NGC2281, Page 23.

M44, Page 24.

NGC 2420, Page 25.

M41, Page 27.

Larger Scopes

NGC 2782 page 22.

NGC 2286,Page 25.

NGC 2266,Page 25.

MCG-1-24-1, Page 26.

NGC 2239, Page 26.

NGC 2185 page 27.

Bonus objects

( Refer to page viii for notational notes!).

NGC 1407 Page 17.

Struve 1291, Struve 1187, Page 22 .

NGC 2281 Page 23.

Melote 71, Page 26.

van den Bergh 97, Page 27.

Happy hunting.

John Kulczycki