Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Astronomy Reference Question, Out of the Blue

Last Friday (7/8/05), I was at the Information Desk in the early morning. The phone rang, and the patron at the other end of the line asked the following question:

"Can the M-13 Cluster be seen close to the Scorpio Constellation?"

Of course, I could not tell him off the top of my head. I initially tried to do some online searching as I talked to him to gather a bit more information, but there was something going on the background, likely his call waiting. At least, that was his claim. At any rate, he said he would call back, and while I waited, I decided it would be easier to find some books on the topic to get an answer. The man never called back. Nevertheless, here is the answer to the best of my ability:

The answer is no. You cannot see the M-13 Cluster near the Scorpio Constellation. However, you can see the M-6, M-7, M-4, and M-80. These are listed as clusters near or part of the Scorpio Constellation. I found the answers here:

  1. Chartrand III, Mark R. Skyguide: A Field Guide for Amateur Astronomers. New York: Golden Press, 1982. Who says those little Golden Guides are not handy? See page 184 for the listing.
  2. Burham Jr., Robert. Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System. New York: Dover Publications, 1978. This book provides detailed lists of stars, clusters, and other celestial objects. Can see page 1651 for the listing, and there is a narrative description of the Scorpio Constellation starting on page 1655.

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