January 2016 - Picture of the Month
IC405 and IC410 in Auriga
Auriga has been a favourite constellation of mine since I first pointed a telescope at the sky. Even a relative beginner with a small aperture telescope can find something to observe in and around the charioteer.
To start with there are the Messier open clusters (M36, M37 and M38), but I love scanning the region to the SW of M38. I find that it looks slightly hazy to the naked eye on a good night - which would be welcome.
I've recently caught the planetary and bright nebulae bug, and whilst researching those I discovered a new challenge sitting in plain view.
In the image below, IC405 is in the bottom left. It contains a variable star (AE Aurigae) that is passing through whilst pouring radiation into the surrounding emission nebula. Apart from managed to squeeze another variable star into Picture of the Month, it's also a goal of mine to observe IC405… not an easy one from my location though.
Continuing the two for one theme, in the top right of David Davies' image is emission nebula IC410, which contains another favourite type of target: an open cluster, NGC 1893. My very limited research has suggests that the nebula is probably a challenge too far for me, so the open cluster will have to do.
Thank you to David Davies of Cambridge (UK) for allowing me to raid his archive for this image. For more images from David please visit his Flickr Photostream.
Those with larger aperture scopes or darker skies may fair better, and as you can see, a camera can capture much more.
I suspect that many of you have seen all this before, but it still makes a fabulous picture and I hope shows that there are objects out there to provide deep-sky observing for us all.
James Whinfrey - 1 January 2016