OBSERVER'S CORNER By Professor Hal Jandorf

The BEST astronomy is EXPERIENCING astronomy

   Being under a starry sky and the Milky Way overhead.

Watching a solar or lunar eclipse. Experiencing a meteor shower in pristine desert night sky.

Locate a comet with your binoculars. The wonder of a beautiful crescent moon.

Finding Saturn with your own telescope. Photographing star clusters, nebulae and galaxies with your camera.

And sharing the universe with others. THAT is the BEST astronomy!


   A cellphone camera can capture the moon thru a telescope eyepiece but not faint deep sky objects! A student, Aaliyah in my astronomy laboratory, broke the rule! She took images of Orion Nebula, the Double Cluster, and Tau Canis Majoris cluster with her cellphone and the college 10 inch Dobsonian telescope! All students are really enjoying the class under the stars. I have to remind them to leave 10 PM when the class is over. A great group of students! I love this job!

   As to Tau Canis Majoris, this is a beautiful open cluster on the back of  the “Big Dog” (Canis Major). I have added an image of the entire constellation to find it. My photo shows a triangular shaped cluster of dozens of stars surrounding the bright star (Tau). The cluster is NGC 2362, about 4000 light years distant. A small telescope at medium magnification (60x) will easily show this celestial gem in darker skies. A beautiful double (sometimes called the “Winter Albireo”) to the north of the cluster, colors of blue and orange.


Clear and Dark Skies!



© 2020 by Ventura County Astronomical Society. EIN: 95-3152618