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Fall Starhop Challenge Welcome to...


"Stars scribble in our eyes the frosty sagas... The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space."

Back for more, huh? Well, I'm here to challenge your grey matter in yet another season! There are many places here for us to explore, and YOU like a challenge, don't you?

Then let me take you by the hand, and we'll go out into the backyard and find them... together!


Ready to start? Then let's do so with the constellation of Pegasus! Now that you've found the M15, and challenged yourself to Stephen's Quintet, let's break out the heavy artillery and rock and roll! Spiral galaxy, NGC7331, will be our first hop, and you will find it north, and slightly to the west of Eta Pegasi. Now that you have your deep sky map out, I'll leave the logistics to you, because the next object is NGC 7814, a barred-spiral galaxy that resembles the "Sombrero" in every respect but apparent size! Now, let's hop down to Alpha Pegasi, and dip a few degrees south to pick off the NGC7479, a faint galaxy at best, but highly interesting because of its' unique "s" shape! Now let's head off again, because it's your turn to find the NGC7217, a twisted little sister of a spiral galaxy, and the last target before we move on...


Now I'm going to hold your head under water! We've explored the M2, and gotten a look at the Saturn Nebula. And, even though the Helix Nebula, is hard to leave, it's time for a Messier challenge. You will find the M72 globular cluster a few degrees west/southwest of the NGC7009, "Saturn Nebula". Now for a real challenge... the M73! When you view this tiny cluster of four stars, you're going to wonder how it ever made a Messier classification! But it is another notch on the tripod leg, isn't it? ;-)


Ready to take a rest yet? Not me! Now let's go and drool on the M31 for a few minutes... Time's up! Let's rock... Now, while we're sitting on top of this beautifu big glaxy, did you know that there are two more Messier objects right there? The M110 is just a slight nudge away, and quite easily captured in even a small telescope... and another degree to the southeast brings the M32 into view! And while we're in the neighborhood, let's split off Almach, and enjoy its' green/gold goodness... Ready to hop again? Then go about five degrees south of lovely Almach to capture the NGC752, where X marks the spot in this delightfully chained, knotted and twisted open cluster!


Now we're crossing the border and into Triangulum, where I still feel that the M33 belongs as a challenge object, both telescopically and with binoculars. Once, you've found it, it's time for this tiny constellation's difficult emsission nebula, the NGC604. It sits on the northeastern tip of the Pinweel, and actually appears brighter than the M33! Now for a toughie... let's see if we can split Struve 183, it's a tight fit, but worth the effort! And since we've got the "yellow/blues"... go northeast and let's capture 6 Iota Tri. Good show! Now, let's head to where the action is...


Oh, yeah! Now, this is what I'm about... Let's go pick off some clusters, shall we? Let's start with the M103, because it is surrounded by open clusters! The star-rich field of the NGC663 captures the imagination, and a bump away is the little, dim ball of the NGC654, and the even more challenging lumpy little patch of light, the NGC659! Now, let's kick up our heels toward Epsilon Cassiopeiae, and snatch the several dozen stars of the NGC457, the diaphonus haze of light, NGC436, and the starbound, nebula-like NGC637 right out of the sky! Let's go for the mid-section with this shot, and find Kappa Cassiopeiae, because that will help us to find the NGC225, a elegant little half-circle formation of stars, with pair inside the circlet. Using averted vision on this one will reward you with a great many other members, begging for resolution! The NGC129 comes next, with many bright members, and magnification will reveal a formation of many small stars in the center. Tired yet? Nah... the best in the west is ready to play! Hop over to Caph, and let's capture the NGC7789, (definately the best in the lot!) but the M52, does wonders for resolution! Wow... isn't that great?! Let's go for one more, shall we?


One last dance? (I'm crazy about you... and you know it!) Very well, we've toured the M34, and the naked eye NGC869 and NGC884, Perseus "Double Cluster". And I've battled my demon with Algol. Ready to play? (I owe a very dear friend for turning me on... ;-) Then let's seek out the Perseus Galaxy Cluster! (The deeper I look into this one, the more galaxies I see...) Now, let's head for Phi Persei, and hunt down the M76, who looks remarkably like one of my personal favorites, The Dumbbell! On to Xi Persei, and drop the magnification back to a little as possible to pick up the wispy NGC1499, "California Nebula". Of course, you know I can't leave without looking once again at Algol, so we may as well bump to the east just a bit and take in NGC1275 (don't forget the NGC1270! The little fuzz ball is right there too! But, I'm going to have to get EXTREME on this one! ;) and score two more on our galaxy card!

Aaahhhhh... now I've had a wonderful time with YOU! What say we put the 'scopes to bed for the night, grab a beer, and just look up! And think...

Or do you just want to get EXTREME? ;-)

"Find my shape by the moonlight... Why my thoughts aren't so clear..."

--the astronomer