Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for May

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 May - 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.

May Sky

We find ourselves beneath the Great Bear. She has woken from winter's long sleep and slowly makes her steady journey to summer's feeding grounds; as do so many amateur astronomers, finding themselves empty, needing as many full meals of starlight as possible.

May skies do not leave us starving or even wanting. Twilight and cloudlessness cause us to strain our eyes, looking for those first flecks of distant light. Even the moon seems more attractive. We start to look for those familiar sign posts that have guided us in these hunting grounds. The patterns are recognized, and our minds find images start to form from past experience, of treasures we have seen. And we are beckoned, drawn into the night, with just a little euphoria, knowing that sensations await.

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

Naked Eye:

Castor and Pollux Page 25 ;

Izar, Page 53;

Zubeneschamali, Zubenelgenubi Page 56;

Eltanin, Page 63.

Late May:

Alphecca, Page 53;

Antares, Page 56;

Sulafat and Sheliak, Page 63.

Small Scopes and Binoculars:

Mebsuta Page 25;

M71, Page 64:

Brocchi’s Cluster, Page 65;

NGC 6814,M72, M73, Page 66;

M11, M26, M18, Page 67;

NGC 7662, M103, M52, Page 72;

NGC 7039, M39, M29, Page 73.

Larger Scopes:

NGC 5363, NGC 5364 Page 44;

NGC 4612, UGC 6887, M60, M59, M58, NGC 4435, NGC 4435, Page 45;

NGC 4038, NGC 4039, Page 47.

Bonus objects:

NGC 5694, NGC 5850, NGC 5846, Page 46;

NGC 6760, IC 4756, Page 65.

Happy Hunting!

John Kulczycki