Annotated finder chart for the Leo Triplet. Original chart from TUBA.
During the month of April the constellation Leo is high in the sky shortly after dark, making it a good time to view the many galaxies residing there. As seasoned observers know, viewing galaxies at higher altitudes puts less air between you and the subject giving a clearer view. I’ve spent the past few weeks eagerly awaiting a clear, moonless night so I could revisit M65, M66, and NGC 3628 – collectively known as the Leo Triplet.
After a long stretch of cloudy or moonlit nights, last night’s skies were clear and reasonably dark from my red zone backyard so I brought out my 10″ Dobsonian along with a 5″ refractor to view this trio of Galaxies.
Star Tools – How do you find your observing subjects?
Star Hopping. For some the term is quaint – an outmoded method of finding things in the night sky. In this day of affordable, accurate computerized mounts that can point your telescope at virtually any object in the sky with the click of an smartphone app why bother with paper charts and manual mounts?
If, in your view, astronomy is mainly about looking at objects in the night sky then it follows that time spent finding things to look at means less time spent looking at them. So why wouldn’t you make the most of your limited observing time by using a computerized mount?