Star cluster M25

Melbourne seems to be making progress in getting the Coronavirus outbreak under some control, finally.

However, for the moment we're still in lockdown and can't get out of the city for astronomy.

Light pollution plays havoc with astronomy, and especially astrophotography. Light pollution is when light from street lights, house lights, sports stadiums, outdoor advertising and all those other reasons for turning lights on gets reflected off any dust in the air above us. It turns into a barrier separating us and the sky, effectively blotting out all the dim and interesting things out there.

But that doesn't mean we can't see anything. Right now, even if the Moon isn't in the right spot (it changes all the time, of course) Jupiter and Saturn are nicely available. They're both high overhead soon after sunset. If you stay up much later, Mars will rise in the East, and because it's near opposition, it'll look good in a long focal-length telescope like an Novo 909.

But we can also look for star clusters. These are pretty, largely immune from light pollution, and can be seen in inexpensive telescopes. I've shown a few over the past few weeks, and here's another one.

M25 (sadly, it doesn't seem to have a common name) is high in the north west after sunset now. It's quite observable, even from the city. Finding it might be a challenge, though. Using the map I've attached, start from yellow Saturn and hop to very bright Jupiter, then turn a little to the left and make another, sightly larger hop. With experience, you might be able to see the "teapot" asterism that is Sagittarius and use this as an extra signpost.

I've attached my own photo on which I've put some circles showing the field of view of some small telescopes and their eyepieces. This might give you an idea of how big it'll look in your own scope. I've also reprocessed the same photo, enhancing the star colours a little.

But if you want to see a pro's photo, have a look at this one.