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In the Sky This Week – March 5, 2019 — 2 Comments

  1. The Rosette Nebula had long been my “White Whale” amongst observing targets. I can’t count the times I had centered my field of view on NGC 2244 (the open cluster at the center of the Rosette) and saw not the faintest hint of the nebula. But one night, I accidentally nudged my telescope with my shoulder, and pushed the cluster to the far left side of the FOV. And there it was! The contrast between the left side (where the Rosette Nebula was) and the right side (where it wasn’t) was unmistakable. It was even red!

    The problem was that when I had centered my scope on the nebula, it filled my entire field of view, so there was nothing to compare it to. But once it filled only half of what I was observing, its presence was screamingly obvious.

    There’s got to be a lesson here, but I can’t figure out what it would be.

  2. Great observing trick, nudging the telescope by accident! I have to confess that even though Turn Left at Orion talks about the Rosette as doable in a small telescope, the only time I saw it in my C-90 (three-inch) was from a dark site in Australia, using a nebula filter. But of course, the hardest ones are the most fun! It’s somewhat easier in an 8-inch Dobsonian, but still a challenge.

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