Views From Central Ohio

Early November, dark by 7:00 PM, a clear night, no wind, and temperatures slowly going down into the low thirties made me think I should dust off the telescope and head out to the AEP Recreation Lands for some observing. Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year for astronomy because the early darkness means you can get a lot of observing in without necessarily staying up all night. Plus, there are no bugs!

I know this Blog is supposed to be about Central Ohio Nature so I will defend myself by saying that my feet were firmly planted in Central Ohio at all times even though I was looking at objects that certainly weren’t anywhere near Ohio or planet earth for that matter. As a further defense it should be noted that a few Ohio Owls and more than a few Ohio Coyotes were heard during my time observing.

The night sky in Columbus suffers from so much light pollution that only the brightest objects are visible. However, the AEP Recreation Lands, just SE of Zanesville, offer really dark skies allowing views of fainter galaxies and nebula.

As the skies darkened I spent some time looking at the Andromeda Galaxy, the brightest and also the closest galaxy (2.5 million light years) to our own Milky Way. From there I moved on to a variety of nebula and galaxies finishing with NGC 7331 which is about 50 million light years away.

From the web some typical images of objects viewed:

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