Aeromoe's Version of Joe Orman's Naked-Eye 100 List

Number 71: Omega Centauri

On the morning of 28 January 2012 I was outside observing a couple of Iridium flares and afterwards I decided to see if I could find Omega Centauri from my front porch area. For the past couple of months I've been planning on trying to see Omega Centauri and the window of opportunity was opening up.

I'd printed out a table of transit times for the star Spica, which more or less is above Omega Centauri by about 36 degrees in declination. Since Spica transits at 45° above the southern horizon from my location, that would put Omega Centauri about 9° above the horizon.

After a minute or so scanning with the binoculars, Omega Centauri popped into view. There it was - a dim, fuzzy, circular patch of grey-ish light. This was actually my first-ever observation of this spectacular globular cluster. Try as I might, I could not observe it without magnification from my light-polluted skies.

Sunday the 29th of January, 2012 I was up early and decided I'd head to darker skies and try and view the cluster naked-eye. I ended up driving about 23 miles to the south and parked on the side of the road. Leo was high in the west with Mars shining brightly not too far from Denebola. To the south/southeast Scorpio was standing on end as he was well above the horizon. Centaurus was due south and after a minute or so I found Omega Centauri with the binoculars. I set up the camera on the tripod for some snapshots of the sky. After my eyes became more dark-adapted I determined that I could in fact just see Omega Centauri. From my latitude (33° N) it isn't much to look at but I'm sure it is quite spectacular when higher above the horizon and viewed from a much darker site.