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The Sky This Month - April 2008

A Cosmic Ocean of Islands


Our Universe is made up of a staggering amount of starry islands, we call galaxies. With the average galactic population of about 200 billion stars, astronomers believe there are more than 100 billion galaxies residing in the known Universe. These tiny patches of grey can only be glimpsed with a telescope or very large binoculars steadily mounted on a tripod. Like fish in the ocean swimming alone or in schools, galaxies are found by themselves or in small groups and clusters.


With a large number of galaxies nestled within the boundaries of Leo the Lion, it does not compare to the heavy concentration known as the Coma – Virgo Cluster. With Virgo being the second-largest constellation in the heavens, the choice of deep-sky objects is lengthy so let's look at a few of its interesting members.


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The Sky This Month - September 2006

Seasonal Change


As the days of September moves closer to the change of seasons at 00:03 hrs eastern on the 23rd, darkness creeps in earlier and earlier. After the 23rd, the hours of darkness will trump daylight hours. Here in Canada, the comfortable nights are coming to an end as the winter winds are only a couple of months away. Until then we have a good number of targets to nail down – so let’s get started.


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The Sky This Month - October 2006

Aquarius

October is well known for its wet weather. Cold, damp days are a sure indication winter is slowly creeping in. With this in mind, we will focus this month’s article on the watery constellation namely Aquarius – the Water Bearer and Pisces – the Fishes.

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The Sky This Month - November 2006

Cassiopeia and Perseus


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The Sky This Month - May 2007

Swarms of Galaxies


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The Sky This Month - July 2006

Taming the Serpent

One of the largest constellations in the sky is Ophiuchus – the serpent holder. Located directly below Hercules, it lies on the meridian at about 9:30 p.m. at the beginning of the month. This huge area of sky covers close to a thousand square degrees and is home to no less than 13 globular clusters equal to or brighter than tenth magnitude. This means on nights of good seeing, you should be able to sweep up these treasures in simple binoculars. 

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The Sky This Month - December 2006

Some Pretty Cool Galaxies

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The Sky This Month - August 2006

The Glorious Milky Way


If you have never experienced the true portrait of the Milky Way Galaxy unfold before your eyes far off in the countryside on a Moonless night, you are missing one of the grandest moments of your life. I recently had the chance to rent a cottage by the lake with my family for ten days, around the new Moon. By 10 p.m. locally, the stars began to show themselves, one by one.


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The Sky This Month - February 2010

Chasing the Hare


The night sky is a theatrical stage of mythological characters, unique stories of how the interaction with others. Amongst the wintry constellations is Lepus the Hare. Although Orion the Hunter is poised in battle with Taurus the Bull, he also liked to hunt our long-eared friend.


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The Sky This Month - April 2010

The Change of Seasons


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