27 July 2015

Southern Hemisphere Observing

An observing plan called "RASC Southern Splendours" was posted recently to the Deep-Sky Planner Plan Library. The plan is based on an article of the same name from the "Observer's Handbook 2013" by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The plan contains 75 showpiece objects that are visible to southern hemisphere observers. The most northerly object in the list is M 83 at -29° declination; the most southerly are at -72° (there are several, including the Small Magellanic Cloud).

Small Magellanic Cloud
Image credit: NASA/CXC/JPL-Caltech/STScI

We northern hemisphere observers often lament the great observing targets that are enjoyed by our southern hemisphere counterparts but not visible to us. I've read recently of the ongoing show displayed by comet C/2014 Q1 (PANSTARRS), and I admit to some envy.

While southern observers can enjoy the "Splendours" plan anytime, we northerners can make the trek south to enjoy it too. Such is the case with a small group of long time friends who are headed to the 2016 OzSky Star Safari in April. Unfortunately, those dates collide with the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) for me, but that's another story.

I look forward to hearing about the observing at OzSky, and I look forward to making the trip myself in the future. Whether you live in the southern hemisphere or not, the "Splendours" plan is available to all Deep-Sky Planner users now, and I hope observers north and south find an opportunity to use it.