Deep Sky

Finding your way around deep space can be rather daunting. And it’s likely that once you do find an object, the small fuzzie you see in your telescope will look nothing like the deep space pictures you’ve dreamt of. But observing deep sky objects is rewarding nonetheless.

The staff here at Sky & Telescope simply can’t get enough of observing. We continue to marvel at the grey hue of the Orion Nebula — a vast stellar nursery nearly 1,500 light-years away — and gasp at the more distant Triangulum Galaxy. Sure it might look like a faint fuzzy blob, but the photons falling on your eye have traveled roughly 3,000,000 years to do so.

M33-Gendler_labeled_341

Digging Deep in M33

The Triangulum Galaxy shows more detail through backyard telescopes than any other galaxies except the Magellanic Clouds and our own home, the Milky Way. But M33's treasures don't just jump out and grab your eye. To see them, you need dark skies, patience . . . and this guide from the December 2004 issue...

The Helix Nebula

Hunting Down the Helix

Despite its dodgy reputation, this planetary nebula is easy to find (for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers) if you go about it the right way.

Orion Nebula

A Pair of Nice Nebulae

When you leave the planets, moons, and comets of our solar system behind, you enter the realm of the deep sky, a place of subtle glows and faint lights.

Clusters of Clusters: Globular Pairings

Globular clusters are more concentrated in the direction of Sagittarius since that's where we find the center of the Milky Way. This area of the sky affords us opportunities to see several of these rich, ancient clusters in close proximity.