If you’ve ever wanted to get more advanced with your astronomical observations and dive into the fascinating world of deep-sky objects, right now is a great time to start. For today’s article, we’ve picked 5 of the most spectacular deep-sky objects that you can see in November. Let’s get to it!
What is a deep-sky object?
The term “deep-sky object” (DSO) is mostly used by amateur astronomers to denote astronomical objects outside the Solar System that are not individual stars. DSOs include galaxies, planetary nebulae, and star clusters.
DSOs are fascinating objects, but they are generally set aside by amateur astronomers as they can be a real challenge to observe, even with large telescopes. Fortunately, it’s not a problem anymore, thanks to a new smart telescope from our friends at Unistellar! Their eVscope makes observation of DSOs fast and easy and allows for DSO views with vivid color and rich detail. Star Walk users can learn more about eVscope and buy the telescope here.
- Triangulum galaxy
The first on our list is the Triangulum galaxy, cataloged as M33 or NGC 598. The galaxy itself is spiral-shaped, however, its name is derived from the triangle-shaped constellation Triangulum where it can be spotted. It’s the third-largest member of the so-called Local Group of galaxies, following the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way. Triangulum is about half the size of our Milky Way and contains about 40 billion stars, compared to 400 billion for the Milky Way and 1 trillion stars for the Andromeda Galaxy.
Although the Triangulum galaxy is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be spotted with the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope will help you see the galaxy’s brighter center. To see even more details, you will require astrophotography equipment and expertise — along with a significant time investment — unless you use a smart telescope like the Unistellar eVscope!
2. NGC 891 galaxy
If you have a chance to see the NGC 891 galaxy, located in the constellation Andromeda, you might notice that it looks oddly familiar: its elongated shape strongly resembles the Milky Way as seen from Earth! NGC 891 looks so similar because we view it edge-on and not from above or below. Our view of the Milky Way is approximately the same, as we live inside the galaxy’s disk. NGC 891 is also a spiral galaxy like ours and has a similar size and luminosity. You will need small- to moderate-sized telescopes to discern the galaxy’s weak halo of light, or you can use the Unistellar eVscope to observe a whole range of colorful details.
3. Dumbbell Nebula
Next up is the first planetary nebula ever discovered — the Dumbbell Nebula, also known as M27, or NGC 6853. It is located in the constellation Vulpecula. The nebula is shaped as an irregular sphere whose brighter area looks like a half-eaten apple. For this reason, it’s sometimes called the Apple Core Nebula. The Dumbbell Nebula suits very well for amateur astronomical observations — it is relatively bright and large, so you will be able to spot its slightly greenish sphere even with binoculars on a perfectly dark sky.
4. Ring Nebula
The Ring Nebula (a.k.a. M57 or NGC 6720) is the second planetary nebula ever discovered. It is located in the constellation Lyra, south of the bright star Vega. The Ring Nebula’s distinctive round shape is reminiscent of a ring or a bagel, hence its name. This nebula is also relatively bright which makes it a popular target for amateur astronomers. However, it’s too small to be seen with binoculars, so prepare your telescope if you want to observe it.
5. Messier 92 cluster
Last but not least is the Messier 92 star cluster situated in the constellation Hercules. It belongs to the category of globular clusters — spherical collections of stars that are much older and have much more stars than open clusters. Messier 92 is one of the oldest and brightest globular clusters in the Milky Way and contains about 330,000 stars. You can observe the cluster with binoculars or a telescope — or even with your naked eye if you’re lucky. And those fortunate enough to own the Unistellar eVscope, prepare to be amazed by what you will see!
Enjoy these five spectacular deep-sky objects that can be seen in November. We wish you clear skies and happy stargazing!