Happy Wednesday! Sorry for the last minute post today – my mind has been mush. Anyone else super distracted lately? Anyways. Onto this week’s Stargazing Side Quest!
For the week of March 15th 2023 we will be looking for a unicorn in the sky – the constellation Monoceros!
Monoceros is a fairly faint constellation. It’s stars are all around magnitude 4 and are between about 148 to almost 4,000 light-years away from us. This constellation is also relatively new by comparison, having been created by a German astronomer named Jakob Bartsch around 1613.
To find this unicorn start by finding Orion in the sky. Remember Betelgeuse from week 53? That’s the bright red star that marks Orion’s shoulder. Now from Betelgeuse continue to Sirius (Week 55) in Canis Major. Above Sirius and to the left of Betelgeuse we’ll find Procyon (Week 7) in Canis Minor. Within this “Winter Triangle” of stars, you’ll find the not-terribly-unicorn-like stars of Monoceros. If you have a pair of binoculars or telescope, check out M50, a star cluster in this constellation.
Be sure to check out a stargazing app like Sky Map to help you locate Monoceros, the star cluster M50, or the stars of the Winter Triangle! They’re very helpful – I use them all the time.
Let us know if you find a unicorn tonight! Tag us at @stargazingsidequest and @liminal.earth!