Centaurus A, Fourcade-Figueroa Shred, NGC 5237

A deep look at the strange galaxy Centaurus AAnyone who has looked at Centaurus A will agree that it is absolutely spectacular! As galaxies go, it’s a very odd-looking garbled object – both in photographs and, for us observers, in our telescopes. In fact, its unique appearance makes it one of the few galaxies that is instantly recognizable from its images when you see it through your telescope – stunningly bright and exquisitely beautiful, its famous dust lane across its middle showing up very well even in modest telescopes, and

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The LMC Superbubbles

n44_gemini_960 - CopyIn a galaxy teeming with spectacular objects, each so magnificent and cosmically grand, arguably the most spectacular are its superbubbles. And there are an astounding sixteen superbubbles in the Large Magellanic Cloud for us to observe! Albeit a couple of them are extremely faint and difficult and offer not much in the way of an observation, most of them not only offer visual observers an unbeatable smorgasbord of delights, but also the incredible opportunity see the striking visual portrait of the sequence of events that

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The Baracchi 59

Baracchi43I have embarked on a fabulous observing programme – the “Baracchi 59”. It delivers all the elements of a really fulfilling programme – an intriguing set of objects, many of which truly challenge one’s powers of observation; a tremendous historical connection to an astronomer and a famous telescope; and a fascinating record of the objects’ discoveries. (And many of these objects have spectacular neighbours to entice you away!) What more can one ask for in an observing

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NGC 94 and a Southern Fish

Scales-my-fish-fossilNever was the universe so grandiose as when I held in my hand and my eyepiece two completely divergent objects that had one thing in common – time.

260 million years of time, to be exact.

As we all know, the time-traveling nature of the universe allows astronomers to peer back in time and see galaxies as they appeared hundreds, thousands, millions, hundreds of millions and billions of years ago. (Regardless of how many decades I spend exploring

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Lacaille at the Cape of Good Hope

18th Oct 2018

Lacaille 8760Lacaille 8760 is the brightest red dwarf in Earth’s sky. Lying in the constellation Microscopium, this 6.69 magnitude red dwarf honours a truly remarkable French astronomer – Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille (1713-1762) – the man who literally lived and died for the stars… during his working life, he made more observations and calculations than all of his peers put together, and he died one week after his 49th birthday from the rigors he suffered observing the sky, or as Patrick

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Father Tachard’s Astronomy

11th Oct 2018

Modern astronomy in South Africa began with ships, or perhaps it would be more correct to say it began with shipwrecks. Indeed, early seafarers found the southern tip of Africa with its raging storms, gale force winds, colossal waves and deadly reefs, to be a frightening and treacherous corner of the Earth… and the coastline is littered with the wrecks of ships that met their violent end being smashed up onto a wild and alien shore.


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