March easy star hopping.

Lovely time of the year to catch galaxies and globular clusters in the clear skies out of our galaxy. The clocks change to bst on the  26th.

Use bright stars, then hop to your target. Use angles, triangles and shapes to get there. A quick check at x50 will give you enough contrast to spot these in the field of view. A few are detailed below as the kicking off point for other targets.

M3, at halfway between the lovely double Cor Caroli and bright Arcturus, is a glorious resolvable globular cluster.There is a smaller globular cluster, NGC 5053 nearby.

M53 is smaller and gives a bright core in Coma Berenices.Look for the bright group of Melotte 111, the tangle of (stars) which marks the top corner of the constellation.

M64 is the “Blackeye galaxy” ¬†showing a core and halo.

 

 

M51 is the “Whirpool galaxy” (+8.4) interacting with the more distant other core of NGC 5195.Darker skies will give the structures.

M63 is the bright “Sunflower galaxy”, showing a bright nucleus. M94 is very bright. M106 is elongate and M109 shows a halo.The Leo groups require a dark night. They are quite easy to locate , the Triplet of M65,M66 and NGC 3628 often just show the two brightest . It’s a starting point to go from Denebola into the Virgo clusters.

There are hundreds here and the Messier’s provide the best views.M100 is a bright starting point.

Nick.