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March 1999 <Objects in March>

[M42 The Great Orion Nebula]M42 The Great Orion Nebula

The three stars on Orion's Belt are seen low in the western sky. It is a sign of the coming of Spring. When I was a child, my father pointed out these three stars for me. The large nebula south of the three stars is a swirling gas visible to binoculars and unaided eye as a fuzzy blob of light. You can appreciate the beautiful reddish hue and complex image of the Great Nebula in this photograph taken by Geisei's 60cm reflector. New stars are being born in this nebula.

[M45 The Pleiades (Subaru)]M45 The Pleiades (Subaru)

The Pleiades in Taurus is now low in the evening sky in the west. As the unaided eye can see about 6 stars in the cluster, it used to be called the "Six Stars" in ancient times in Japan. In photographs you can see quite clearly the cluster enveloped in bluish swirling gases. It is a good target for small telescopes and also superb in binoculars.

[Canopus in Carina]Canopus in Carina

The first magnitude star Canopus is difficult to see from Japan. At places south of Tokyo, it is visible low on the horizon at about 7 pm around this time of the year. In China it is called the "old-man" star or "longevity" star and your longevity will be assured if you have a glimpse of it. From Geisei, which is located in the southern part of Japan, Canopus is often visible above the sea. It shines as a bluish first-magnitude star and competes its beauty with Sirius in Canis Major.

[M31 The Andromeda Galaxy]M31 The Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy was visible at Zenith in winter, but now in spring it is low in the northwestern sky. Geisei's 60cm reflector took this photo of the galaxy, which is 2.4 million light-years away from us. In this galaxy, supernovae or exploded stars have been discovered and the existence of solar systems similar to ours is almost certain.

Fuji Super G400 ACE
15-minute exposure

[M33 A Galaxy in Triangulum]M33 A Galaxy in Triangulum

M33 is a galaxy in the constellation of Triangulum next to Andromeda. It is only 2.35 million light-years away, which is in the neighborhood of our Milky Way galaxy. The apparent diameter of this galaxy is large but it is very faint. Because it contains many young stars, it appears rather bluish. The photo on the left was taken by Geisei's 60cm reflector and trimmed later.

Fuji Super G400 ACE
15-minute exposure

[The Double Star Cluster in Perseus (Open Star Cluster)]The Double Star Cluster in Perseus (Open Star Cluster)

This is an open cluster immediately lower left of the Constellation Cassiopeia which is well-known for the letter W it forms. To the naked eye it is a fuzzy blob of light. It is a cluster of stars within our Milky Way Galaxy.

Copyright (C) 1999 Tsutomu Seki.