Yesterday on a very cold but clear night, I hunted down three deep sky objects on the Hidden Treasures List.

First up was the Pacman nebula in Cassiopeia. I’ve spotted this before but didn’t remember much about it, so it was good to revisit. The nebulocity was apparent with a bit of staring with dark adpated eyes,but,as tends to be the case with such objects, was only obvious around the associated stars. Most obvious was the dark edge (actually a dark nebula itself) forming the pacman’s mouth. An OIII filter helped at low power, but at medium power it was a better view without the filter. The sketch on the right is the nebula’s centre only.

Then on to the fiddlehead galaxy, a spiral in Aries. This was easy to spot, but I didn’t get much out of it other than find it. It was a very faint blur in averted vision, and no detail was visible at all.

Finally, a very large open cluster in Cepheus, and an entirely new object for me, the misty clover cluster. This is famous for being a favourite photographic object, containing the elephant trunk nebula. However, the cluster itself is great: very widely dispersed, but with layers of stars such that low power shows the extent of the cluster, but not many faint stars, whilst high powers show more detail of the fainter stars, but  only of a small region at once. Strange experience. But very pretty. There is a gorgeous triple star, Struve 2816, at the cluster’s centre.

And that trio took me an hour, which, on such a cold night, was all my fingers and ears could take.

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