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Wally
2002-Feb-05, 10:47 AM
Since starting my "serious" viewing with binoc's (10x50) last fall, I've not had the opportunity to view the great open cluster of the Beehive. Finally, last night came dark (well, except for bad LP from a nearby city) and clear! Headed out at around 19:30 or so Eastern time and began hitting my favorites (M42, M31, M36/37/38 (got all 3), "h" and "chi" Perseii), plus went after other faint fuzzies that I haven't nailed yet. Added 5 or 6 of 'em to my log, but can't remember exactly which ones (and my log book is at home, drat!). Finally came to the Beehive in "turn left at Orion". Followed their star-hopping directions, and BANG!, there it was! Bright, blue stars, filling almost half my FOV, with hundreds of fainter stars filling in the gaps. WOW! Absolutely beautiful! No doubt it'll be on my target list every time out now that it's getting higher in the sky at a more reasonable time of the night!

Also was impressed with the open star field around Mirfak (?). Same bright blue stars, but spread out over more area and not quite as impressive as the Beehive.

I think I may have seen M82 as well. It's the brighter of the M81/82 pair, right? Pretty sure I saw something faint and fuzzy right where they're supposed to be, but had a lot of glow on all horizons so it was hard to tell, especially since I couldn't lie down for this one due to the tree line around my house.

Love them clear winter nights!!! Wally.

The Rat
2002-Feb-05, 03:16 PM
On 2002-02-05 05:47, Wally wrote:
Love them clear winter nights!!! Wally.

Masochist!

Yeah, I know, some of the best viewing is in the winter. But as hard as it is for a good Canuck to admit this, I hate the cold.

In Grand Rapids you're probably just as chilly as we are in Toronto, so I know what you're feeling. Brrrr! One of the worst things is that the lubricants on moving parts of scopes and binocs stiffen up. Guess we'll have to ask NASA what they use...

;^)

Chip
2002-Feb-05, 04:39 PM
My first "Beehive" experience was when I was about 16 on a dark night. Just with my eyes I spotted a faint patch of light and wondered "What could that be?" When I got the binoculars in the right place - Whoa! A shimmering open cluster of many many brilliant blue diamonds! Took my breath away. (Still does.)

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Feb-05, 05:55 PM
The Beehive is pretty cool. I think it looks even better because it's in a relatively empty region of the sky.

There are a lot of great binocular clusters up. Have you ever seen the "Coat Hanger"? It's one of my favorites, because the resemblance is uncanny, and I always find it by accident when I'm looking for something else. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif Here's a link for it (http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/brocchi.html). Actually, try browsing that site. There's a lot of good info there.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: The Bad Astronomer on 2002-02-06 00:06 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Feb-05, 06:04 PM
Hey, BA, you put quotes around the URL (http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/ngc/brocchi.html). That should do it.

I still remember the first time I saw the beehive. And when I saw the coathanger--I'd read about it in Sky and Telescope one month, and was browsing through the summer triangle with binoculars when it popped into view. Instantly recognized it.

<font size=-1>[Yeah, yeah, edited URL; then added personal anecdote]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-02-06 04:38 ]</font>

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Feb-06, 05:07 AM
Fixed it. I was in Straight Dope code mode.

Chip
2002-Feb-06, 04:31 PM
Here's my goofy question for the day:

If our solar system were located around one of the Beehive stars, would we notice many more bright stars in our night sky?

I ask because perhaps an open cluster might appear crowded since we're seeing it from very far away, but if we were in it, there's still a lot of room between the stars. Are some open cluster members close enough to orbit each other?

One the other side of the coin, I've read that if we were deep within a Globular Cluster, our night sky would be blazing with thousands of brilliant stars.

Kaptain K
2002-Feb-06, 05:53 PM
If our solar system were located around one of the Beehive stars, would we notice many more bright stars in our night sky?
Oh yeah!!


I ask because perhaps an open cluster might appear crowded since we're seeing it from very far away, but if we were in it, there's still a lot of room between the stars.
While it is true that there is a lot of space between the stars of an open cluster, it is still far more crowded than the Solar neighborhood.

Are some open cluster members close enough to orbit each other?
Since approximately 1/2 of all stars are in multiple systems, i would assume that there are multiple systems in an open clusters.


On the other side of the coin, I've read that if we were deep within a Globular Cluster, our night sky would be blazing with thousands of brilliant stars.
Not to mention tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of fainter ones.

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Feb-06, 06:16 PM
On 2002-02-06 11:31, Chip wrote:
One the other side of the coin, I've read that if we were deep within a Globular Cluster, our night sky would be blazing with thousands of brilliant stars.


Heh. I just submitted an article about this very topic to Astronomy magazine. I won't give away the piece, but you are basically correct. I'll put out a newsletter when the magazine prints the article, probably in three months or so.

Chip
2002-Feb-06, 06:55 PM
On 2002-02-06 13:16, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
Heh. I just submitted an article about this very topic to Astronomy magazine. I won't give away the piece, but you are basically correct. I'll put out a newsletter when the magazine prints the article, probably in three months or so.


Cool! I'm looking forward to it.
(I also wonder if the radiation inside a Globular Cluster would be too high for an Earthlike planet, despite the shielding effect of an atmosphere.) I don't know enough about the interiors of Globulars, but it would be nice if some alien world had beings who'd see and appreciate that view.

Kaptain K
2002-Feb-06, 10:12 PM
Since globular clusters are very old (some of the oldest stars in the galaxy), there are no (or very few) hot stars. Therefore, there is very little high energy radiation.

Chip
2002-Feb-07, 04:29 AM
On 2002-02-06 17:12, Kaptain K wrote:
Since globular clusters are very old (some of the oldest stars in the galaxy), there are no (or very few) hot stars. Therefore, there is very little high energy radiation.


Hmmm...interesting, and thanks for your earlier comments. This website: http://sirtf.caltech.edu/Education/Messier/m13.html
(one of many) has some pictures, and has this to say about radiation:

"The environment of globular clusters is essentially devoid of strong magnetic fields and fast-traveling electrons, and therefore we should not expect significant synchrotron emission from M13."

Not only beautiful but stable, though they do have novas (I read). /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Kaptain K
2002-Feb-07, 05:41 PM
Not only beautiful but stable, though they do have novas (I read).
But no Type II supernovas (big stars go BOOM) since there are no big stars left. I would assume that there would be Type Ia's since they are the result of white dwarfs in binary systems accreting material from a companion as it (the companion) tries to expand into a red giant.