Stargazing Live - 4 January 2011

Part two of Sky at Night Magazine's hour by hour guide to what's up in the night sky over the 3 nights of the BBC's Stargazing Live programme

Tonight we’re going to try some more tricky objects so we’ll concentrate on hourly challenges. If you’ve just joined us then have a look at last night’s challenges, which you can still have a go at looking for (at roughly the same times) tonight.

6pm – If you’ve got really clear transparent skies have a look out for the Ring Nebula in Lyra at the moment. It’s low down in the north-west and you’ll need a telescope to see it.

7pm – Over in the eastern part of the sky now you’ll find the constellation of Auriga. If you have a small telescope point it at the chain of lovely open clusters catalogued as M36, M37 and M38.

8pm – It’s Stargazing Live time now on BBC Two! If you’re staying outside turn your scope to the star Castor in Gemini. You’ll see that it’s, in fact, an interesting multiple star system.

9pm – We looked at the Orion Nebula in Orion’s Sword last night. So let’s return to this region, which is in the southeast now. It’s a magnificent view through a telescope – can you see the Trapezium star cluster at the nebula’s heart?

10pm – Just above the eastern horizon at the moment is the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Its front legs, head and neck is shaped like a backwards questions mark. If you have a small telescope the star Algieba is an interesting double star.

11pm –
Lets finish off the night with a stunning sight. The open cluster M44 (also known as Praesepe) is visible to the naked eye from clear dark skies. It’ll appear as a glittering collection of stars through a small telescope or even good pair of binoculars. You’ll find it high in the south west now, between the stars Regulus (in Leo) and Pollux (in Gemini)

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Stargazing Live - 5 January 2011
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