Phil Dimpelfeld from the Indiana Astronomical Society creates a Novice/Urban Observing List each month for newbies like myself with not-so-dark skies and not-so-powerful equipment. The October 2013 list had some very close double stars, but I was still able to observe and document 6 of the 11 objects, including the challenge object!
November looks like a lot of fun, but doesn't include the typical two lunar items. Considering my equipment limitations, Phil suggested Mare Humboldtianum and Riccioli (crater) as optional additional lunar targets. Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) is also on the list! Oooh baby here it comes!
Venus, planet in south-western sky after sunset, mag = -4.2, size = 23”. What is the phase of Venus?
Uranus, planet currently in Pisces, 00h 36m, +03° 03’, mag = 5.7, size = 4”
M32, satellite galaxy to M31, 00h 42.7m, +40° 52', mag = 9.0, size = 8’ x 6’
M31, the “Andromeda Galaxy”, 00h 42.7m, +41° 16', mag = 4.4, size = 180' x 63'
Eta Cassiopeiae, double star in Cassiopeia, 00h 49.1m, +57° 49', mag = 3.4, 7.5, sep = 12”
Psi 1 Piscium, double star in Pisces, 01h 05.6m, +21° 28', mag = 5.6, 5.8, sep = 30"
NGC 457, the “E.T.” Cluster, open cluster in Cassiopeia, 01h 19.1m, +58° 20', mag = 6.4, size = 13.0'
NGC 663, open cluster in Cassiopeia, 01h 46.0m, +61° 15', mag = 7.1, size = 16.0'
Gamma Arietis (”Mesartim”), double star in Aries, 01h 53.5m, +19° 18', mag = 4.8, 4.8, sep = 7.8”
NGC 752, open cluster in Andromeda, 01h 57.8m, +37° 41', mag = 5.7, size = 50.0'
Challenge Object #1:
M110, satellite galaxy to M31, 00h 40.4m, +41° 41’, mag = 10.0, size = 17' X 10'
Note that the surface brightness of M110 is much fainter than M32, although theses two satellite galaxies have the same magnitude. Tip: study the photographs of M31 to locate M32 and M110 relative to the core of M31. It will be easier to find M110 if you know the general area to look in. Moving the scope makes it easier for your eye to pick up this faint object.
Challenge Object #2:
Comet ISON, eastern sky before dawn, check star charts for position (in Leo for October)