The Winter Solstice is here, and the nights are long and cold. For “normal” people, this is a bad thing, but for astronomers it means hours of viewing with cold crisp air making for good seeing conditions.
If the clouds stay away, of course.
I've prepared a list of things to look at in winter. Of course, new Moon is the best time for seeing the dimmer ones such as the nebulas. Remember also that the size of the target will determine how well you’ll see it in any particular scope. Sometimes magnification isn’t your friend!
I've ordered it by the time each object reaches its highest point, so it'd be best to start at the top of the list, as these will be starting to set (some don't set at all).
The picture is my unguided attempt at Rho Ophiuchus, the neighbour of the Dark Wolf nebula. This is highest at 10:10pm on the 21st of June - you’ll need a good dark site though.
- Dark nebula: C 99 - Coalsack Nebula (07:15 PM)
- Open cluster: NGC 4755 - Jewel Box Cluster (07:20 PM)
- Galaxy: NGC 5128 - Centaurus A (07:50 PM)
- Globular cluster: NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri (07:50 PM)
- Galaxy: M 83 - Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (08:00 PM)
- Double star: Hadar - Beta Centauri (08:30 PM)
- Globular cluster: M 5 - (09:45 PM)
- Dark nebula: B 228 - The Dark Wolf Nebula (10:10 PM)
- Globular cluster: M 4 - (10:45 PM)
- Globular cluster: M 13 - Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (11:05 PM)
- Globular cluster: M 12 - (11:10 PM)
- Bright nebula: IC 4628 - The Prawn Nebula (11:20 PM)
- Dark nebula: B 78 - The Pipe Nebula (11:55 PM)
- Open cluster: M 6 - Butterfly Cluster (12:05 AM)
- Open cluster: M 7 - Ptolemy Cluster (12:15 AM)
- Diffuse nebula: M 20 - Trifid Nebula (12:25 AM)
- Diffuse nebula: M 8 - Lagoon Nebula (12:25 AM)
- Globular cluster: NGC 6541 - (12:30 AM)
- Diffuse nebula: M 16 - Eagle Nebula (12:40 AM)
- Diffuse nebula: M 17 - Omega Nebula (12:45 AM)
- Globular cluster: M 22 - Sagittarius Cluster (01:00 AM)
- Open cluster: M 11 - Wild Duck Cluster (01:15 AM)
- Planetary Nebula: M 57 - Ring Nebula (01:15 AM)