For March's objects, have a go at these suggested objects and keep them for our image analysis and comparison sessions a bit later in the year, when we'll discuss what each of us did to get the image we got.
- M42 (The Great Orion Nebula) is quite
prominent at an elevation of around 42 degrees looking NW. It is
generally regarded as difficult to image due to the brightness of
the Trapezium which easily 'burns out' in the image especially at
up close, however because it's so bright, it lends itself to some
great wide shots with your DSLR and can be quite an exciting object
to image for beginners. As a bonus of wide field, you'll capture
M43 (de Mairan's nebula) and NGC 1977 (Running Man nebula)
- NGC 3372 (Carina Nebula) contains a stellar
system about 8,000 light years distance. The major 'stars' within
this enormous, thick, nebula are Eta Carinae (a luminous blue
variable) at around 120 solar masses and its partner at around 30
solar masses. Their combined luminosity is about four million times
that of our Sun. Because of its mass and stage of life, it's
expected to explode into a supernova/hypernova - so keep your eye
out for it! It's a great object to image and is at about 55 degrees
elevation looking SE.
- NGC 3242 (Ghost of Jupiter) is a planetary nebula and appears as a blue-gray disk when seen through an eyepiece. Colour imaging may show the blue-green tinge of the disk, a central white dwarf star and a structure that looks like an eye. It's in Hydra at about 3000 light years distance and is at 60 degrees elevation looking a bit N of E.