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Nebula

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ASTRO LOG: Your February Sky Treats

February opens with the gradual exit of the Moon from the night sky, which means observers will start the second month with a trove of prominent bright winter constellations such as Orion, Taurus, Auriga and Gemini and spring constellations like Ursa Major, Leo and Virgo after midnight.

Several deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula, Flame and Horsehead Nebula, Crab Nebula, Messier 53 and Pinwheel Galaxy can also be observed under relatively clear, moonless and dark skies.

Planets Mars and Uranus are going to be a regular sight right after sunset, while the bright planets Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be gracing the night sky in the early morning hours until sunrise.

Meanwhile, there will be barely or no sighting at all of planets Mercury and Neptune because of their nearness to the Sun as seen in the sky.

Days are still long, with late sunrises from 6:46 to 7:04 in the morning and early sunsets from 6:04 P.M. to 6:24 in the evening.

For more serious sky watching,Al Sadeem Astronomy has prepared below a calendar for February’s sky events.All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time (UTC+4).

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THE PACMAN NEBULA (NGC281)

NGC281 known as the Pacman Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory October 12, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2.5 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC281, also known as the Pacman Nebula is an emission nebula located about 9200-9500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia (the queen). It is also called IC 11 or Sh2-184 using the IC and Sharpless sky catalogues respectively. Specifically, it is a bright HII region,spans about 96 light-years in diameter (a region in space where interstellar atomic hydrogen is ionized signifying active star formation) within the Milky Way’s Perseus Spiral Arm. read more

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THE WITCH’S BROOM NEBULA (NGC6960)

NGC6960 known as the Western Veil Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last July 21, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC6960, known as the Western Veil Nebula, is a diffuse nebula located about 1470 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus (the swan). It has multiple other designations such as the Witch’s Broom Nebula, Filamentary Nebula, Finger of God Nebula, Lacework Nebula (based on its shape resemblance) or Caldwell 34. It is a western portion of the Veil Nebula or the Cygnus Loop placed at the right wing of the swan. read more

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THE WIZARD NEBULA (NGC7380)

NGC7380 known as the Wizard Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 22, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. Stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC 7380, known as the Wizard Nebula, is an emission nebula located about 7200 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus (the king). It was discovered by William Herschel’s sister Caroline, in 1787. In fact, it is a open star cluster associated with nebulosity in which the orientation of the stars, stellar dust and gas created a shape resembling to a fictional medieval sorcerer. read more

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THE COCOON NEBULA (IC5146)

IC5146 known as the Cocoon Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last October 4-5, 2018 using GSO RC 8 inch telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2.5 hour total exposure time guided. Stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. read more

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THE FLAMING STAR NEBULA (IC405)

IC405 known as the Flaming Star Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 29, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. Stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy) read more

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THE IRIS NEBULA (NGC7023)

NGC7023 (Iris Nebula) taken last August 26, 2018 from Al Sadeem Astronomy Observatory using GSO RC 8-inch telescope and ZWO1600MC-Cool CMOS camera; processed in Pixinsight (Image Credit: Aldrin B. Gabuya/Al Sadeem Astronomy)

Caldwell 4 (more commonly known as Iris Nebula) is a bright reflection nebula situated about 1300 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cepheus. It was discovered by the English astronomer William Herschel on October 18, 1794. read more

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THE DUMBBELL NEBULA (MESSIER 27)

The Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27) taken from Al Sadeem Observatory on the night of August 18-19, 2018 using GSO RC8 Telescope and ZWO1600MC-Cool CMOS Camera. Total exposure time is 51 minutes, Image stacking and processing were done in Pixinsight and Photoshop. read more

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THE RING NEBULA (MESSIER 57, NGC 6720)

Image from Al Sadeem Observatory on the night of August 16-17, 2018 using the observatory’s Meade LX850 16” SCT and SBIG STT-8300MM CCD camera. Total exposure time is 1 hr 30 min (30 mins per filter). Image stacking and processing were done in Pixinsight and Photoshop. read more

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WHAT’S UP IN THE SKY THIS AUGUST 2018?

We are in the middle of summer. Hot to very hot weather will persist in the UAE this August. Wondering what’s going to be up at the sky for the new month? The following is a list of astronomical events for August 2018. All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time. read more