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 fuzzy thing you see in your telescope will almost completely different from deep space pictures you imagined. But there is really nothing like observing deep sky objects. The first time you catch a planetary nebula or realize a blurry patch in the sky is actually a globular cluster is an experience not to be missed. And just wait until you start long exposure imaging them!

The staff here at Sky & Telescope simply can’t get enough of observing these amazing phenomena. 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.

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.