Deep Sky Summer/Autumn Observations August/October 2016

Conditions | Observation Overview | Observed Objects | Remarks | References

From August to October 2016, I conducted simple "deep-sky summer / autumn observations," which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. Please note that this page primarily serves as a preparation for the respective observations in summer and fall 2017.

List of observed deep sky objects:

I selected the observation objects primarily on the basis of my literature (see references).

Note: This is more a "preparation page" for observations that I hope to conduct in 2017. I list here already the most important deep sky objects that I would like to observe and that I already tried to observe, but for different reasons in part was not able to find.

 

Conditions

Sky Region and Objects

I first confined my observations to the sky area in the south with Hercules, Ophiuchus, Cygnus, Lyra.... Later, I extended my observations to the area between Andromeda, Cassiopeia, and Perseus, as well as Pegasus.

Overview Map

The following map shows approximately the sky area that I primarily browsed during my observations:

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window

And here is the section of the sky in the East with Cassiopeia, Perseus, Andromeda, Pegasus a.s.o. that I observed mostly in France:

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window

Observation Time

My observations started in August and ended in early October (apart from one exception); I began observing some time after dusk (which is late in summer, often only after 9 pm) and before midnight.

Observation Location

Most observations were conducted in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

I conducted further deep sky observations in Erkerode (near Braunschweig, Germany) and later in autumn also in France (Sumène, Haute Loire, France).

Devices Used

I tried all my telescopes and, as far as possible, also used them on the GoTo control. That was in the making, however, so I did not use the GoTo control often. Moreover, I used my 10 x 25 Leica binoculars, which are not all night glasses. I used all kinds of eyepieces, but preferred my UWA eyepieces (16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm) as well as a 32 mm Plössl eyepiece for maximum overview.

General Conditions

In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for Deep Sky objects. This is certainly one of the reasons why I found some of the Deep Sky objects that I wanted to observe only sometimes or not at all. Often, the sky was not yet dark enough for observing deep sky objects ...

I conducted further deep sky observations in Erkerode (near Braunschweig, Germany) and later in autumn also in France (Sumène, Haute Loire, France).

 

Observation Overview

Observation Details

Date Observed Objects Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used General Remarks
End of August 2016 GE: M 8 (NGC 6523; Lagoon nebula), M 20 (Trifid nebula)   Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P telescope (4" Dobsonian) in various magnifications Erkerode
End of August 2016 GC: M 13 (Hercules cluster), M 92   Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, Sky-Watcher Heritage P130 telescope (5" Dobsonian), GSO GSD 680 telescope (8" Dobsonian) in various magnifications Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (MH)
Sep 1 GC: M 13, M 92   Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, Sky-Watcher Heritage P130, GSO GSD 680; Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P and Sky-Watcher Heritage P130 also on Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo mount in various magnifications MH
Sep 3 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)   Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P ? MH
Sep 6 G: M 31
GC: M 92
  Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P on GoTo mount, Sky-Watcher Heritage P130 on GoTo mount ? MH
Sep 7 PN: M 57 (Ring nebula)
OC: IC 4665, M 16 (NGC 6611) + IC 4703 (Eagle nebula), M 17 + NGC 6618 (Omega nebula, Swan nebula), M 11 (NGC 6705; Wild Ducks cluster)
GC: M 13, M 92, M 10, M 12
M 5 not found (low, behind tree)
Eagle and Omega nebulae not found
Sky-Watcher Skymax 102 telescope (4" Maksutov-Cassegrain) on GoTo mount ? MH
Sep 9 PN: M 57
G: M 31
OC: M 11 (NGC 6705)
GC: M 13, M 92
NGC 6633 too low, not found
M 5 not found (low, behind tree)
Sky-Watcher Heritage P130 on GoTo mount ? MH
End of Sept/Beg. of Okt 2016 G: M 31
OC: NGC 884/NGC 869 (Perseus double cluster), M 103, NGC 663, NGC 654
GC: M 13, M 15
M 57, M 56 not found Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, binoculars in various magnifications Frankreich (Sumène), M 13 also in binoculars
Oct 31 OC: M 45 (Pleiades)
GC: M 13, M 15
  Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, binoculars 16 mm, 7mm, 4mm UWA MH, M 13: faint in bino, M 15 with 100P, not with binoculars

Bold: First observation during this observation period; all observations in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau; GE = galactic emission nebula, GR = galactiv reflection nebula, PN = planetary nebula, G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster

Overview of the Observed Sky Objects (Mostly Objects Found)

DSO
Name Constellation Type Bino* 100P 100P
GT
SM102
GT
P130
GT
GSD 680 Remarks Sketch+
Details Page
M 13 M 13 Hercules Nebula Hercules GC yes yes yes yes yes yes prime object yes
M 92 M 92   Hercules GC yes yes yes yes yes yes harder to find than M 13 yes
M 29 M 29   Cygnus OC                
NGC 6960/6992/5 NGC 6960/6992/5 Cirrus/Veil Nebula Cygnus PN               link
NGC 7000 NGC 7000 North America Nebula Cygnus GE               link
M 27 M 27 Dumbbell Nebula Vulpecula PN             nebula, but no dumbbell... link
CR 399 CR 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula SP             not found  
M 57 M 57 Ring Nebula Lyra PN   no   yes yes   a hint of the ring at best link
M 56 M 56   Lyra GC             a small sphere  
M 71 M 71   Sagitta GC             very loose link
M 10 M 10   Ophiuchus GC       yes     a faint glow  
M 12 M 12   Ophiuchus GC       yes     a faint glow  
IC 4665 IC 4665   Ophiuchus OC       yes     only relatively distant stars link
NGC 6633 NGC 6633   Ophiuchus OC             already too low on the horizon  
M 5 M 5   Serpens Caput GC             already too low on the horizon  
IC 4756 IC 4756   Serpens Cauda OC             probably not found  
M 16/IC 4703 M 16/IC 4703 Eagle Nebula Serpens Cauda OC/GE       yes     appeared as a very wide open star cluster; did not see the nebula IC 4703 link
M 17 M 17 Omega/Swan Nebula Sagittarius GE       yes     saw only stars and, at best, a faint glow link
M 8/NGC 6530 M 8/NGC 6530 Lagoon Nebula Sagittarius OC/GE   yes   yes     saw only stars, maybe some faint glow in the Lagoon Nebula link
M 20 M 20 Trifid Nebula Sagittarius GE   ? ? ?     not found link
M 21, 23 M 21, 23   Sagittarius OC, OC             not observed?  
M 24 M 24   Sagittarius SC                
M 11 M 11 Wild Duck Cluster Scutum GC       yes yes   saw stars and some nebula around them link
M 31 M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda G yes? yes yes   yes   in the North-East; a glow, no details yes
NGC 884/869 NGC 884/869 Double Star Cluster Perseus OC   yes         in the North-East yes
M 15 M 15   Pegasus GC   yes            
M 103 M 103   Cassiopeia OC   yes         looked more like a small asterism  
NGC 663 NGC 663   Cassiopeia OC   yes            
NGC 654 NGC 654   Cassiopeia OC             not found  
NGC 457 NGC 457 Owl Cluster, ET Cluster Cassiopeia OC             probably not observed link
St 2 St 2 Muscle Man Cassiopeia OC             not observed  

*) 10 x 25 binoculars; +) Sketches by Michael Vlasov, DeepSkyWatch.com; GE = galactic emission nebula, GR = galactic reflection nebula, G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, SP = star pattern, SC = star cloud

 

Observed Objects

Hercules: M 13

The globular star cluster M 13 in the Hercules constellation is probably the largest globular cluster in the northern sky. It is located on the right edge of the Keystone asterism, which is the most prominent part of the constellation Hercules and forms a trapezoid. M 13 is not quite round and, depending on the author, 8 'or 15' in size. I was able to see the bright nucleus well, but I was not able to resolve single stars. Overall, this cluster is an easy-to-find object, even with binoculars (for example, on Oct. 31, 2016 in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau - but only faintly), at least once you have found the Keystone asterism.

M 13 is located at the right edge of the Keystone asterism (1/3 from top) und is relatively easy to find, once you have found the Keystone trapezoid.

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed in summer/autumn 2016 (my impression was much fainter and smaller than the sketch):

Sketch of the M 13 globular star cluster by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission

Observations


Hercules: M 92

The globular star cluster M 92 in the Hercules constellation is somewhat smaller (depending on the author, it is 7 'or 8' in size) than its more familiar "brethren" M 13. It is located above the Keystone asterism, the most prominent part of the constellation More difficult to find than M 13. I was able to clearly see the bright nucleus - M 92 appears somewhat more concentrated at the center than M 13 - but not dissolve single stars.

M 92 is located above the Keystone asterism and a little more difficult to find than M 13. First find the Keystone asterism!

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed in summer/autumn 2016 (my impression was much fainter and smaller than the sketch):

Sketch of the M 92 globular star cluster by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission

Observations


Cygnus: M 29

According to Karkoschka, the open star cluster M 29 in Cygnus/Swan reveals only a few stars.

Overview map for M 29, M 27, NGC 6960/6992/5, NGC 7000, CR 399, M 57, M 56, and M 71

Observations


Cygnus: NGC 6960/6992/5

The planetary nebula NGC 6960/6992/5, called Cirrus or Veil Nebula, is also located in the constellation Cygnus/Swan.

Map see M 29

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I wanted to observe in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of the Cirrus/Veil Nebula (NGC 6960/6992/5) by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Cygnus: NGC 7000

The galactic emission nebula NGC 7000, called North America Nebula, is also located in the constellation Cygnus/Swan.

Map see M 29

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I might have observed in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of the North America Nebula (NGC 7000) by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Vulpecula: M 27

The planetary nebula M 27, called Dumbbell Nebula because of its shape, is also located in the constellation Vulpecula/Little Fox. According to Stoyan, it is considered as one of the most beautiful nebulae for telescope observers.

Map see M 29


Vulpecula: CR 399

The asterism CR 399 is located in the constellation Vulpecula/Little Fox. Thanks to its shape, it is called Coat Hanger.

Map see M 29

Observations


Lyra: M 57

The Ring Nebula M 57 in the constellation Lyra is a planetary nebula and an interesting observation object because, under favorable conditions, you may be able to recognize a ring structure.

Map see M 29

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed: Sketch of M 57 (Ring Nebula) by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Lyra: M 56

The globular star cluster M 56 in the constellation Lyra is harder to find than the clusters M 13 and even more so M 92.

Map see M 29

Observations


Sagitta: M 71

M 71 in the constellation Sagitta is, according to Stoyan, an unusually loose globular star cluster.

Map see M 29

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I want to observe: Sketch of M 71 by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Ophiuchus: M 10

The globular star cluster M 10 is located in the constellation Ophiuchus/Serpent Bearer not far away from the globular star cluster M 12. According to Stoyan, it is interesting to observe both clusters in succession and compare them.

M 10 in Ophiuchus/Serpent Bearer is located to the left of M 12

Observations


Ophiuchus: M 12

The globular star cluster M 12 is located in the constellation Ophiuchus/Serpent Bearer not far away from the globular star cluster M 10. According to Stoyan, it is interesting to observe both clusters in succession and compare them.

Map see M 10

Observations


Ophiuchus: IC 4665

The open star cluster IC 4665 in the constellation Ophiuchus can, according to Stoyan, already be seen with the naked eye as a faint glow.

IC 4665 in the constellation Ophiuchus (right) - NGC 6633 is located left of it

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I might have observed in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of IC 4665 by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Ophiuchus: NGC 6633

The open star cluster NGC 6633 in the constellation Ophiuchus can, according to Stoyan, already be seen with the naked eye as a faint glow. Stoyan already counts it among M 11 and M 16.

Map see IC 4665

Observations


Serpens Caput: M 5

The globular star cluster M 5 in the constellation Serpens Caput is nearly as bright as the cluster M 13 in the constellation Hercules.

M 5 in Serpens Caput (Head of the Serpent)

Observations


Serpens Cauda: IC 4756

The open star cluster IC 4756 in Serpens Cauda (tail of the snake) consists, according to Karkoschka, of few, inconspicuously scattered stars and is rather an object for opera glasses or binoculars. Stoyan describes it as "loosely distributed", but also as having clear-cut borders.

Map see M 16

Observations


Serpens Cauda: M 16 + IC 4703

According to Stoyan, M 16 (NGC 6611) is considered as the most beautiful open star cluster in the constellation Serpens/Serpent (Serpens Cauda/Tail of the Serpent). Usually, however, it is simply called the "Eagle Nebula" after the galactic emission nebula IC 4703, the Eagle Nebula, in which it is embedded. But actually these are two different objects.

M 16 (center) belongs to the constellation Serpens Cauda, but is close to the constellation Scutum/Shield. All other objects either belong to Scutum (M 11) or to Sagittarius (M 8, M 17, M 20, M 21, M 23, M 24).

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of M 16 by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Sagittarius: M 17

M 17 (NGC 6618) is a galactic emission nebula in the Sagittarius constellation, which, according to Stoyan, is by many observers counted among the best nebulae of this type. The name Swan Nebula describes its form in a reversing telescope, but the name Omega Nebula, which dates back to William Herrschel, seems to be the more common one.

Map see M 16

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides an impression of what I failed to observe in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of M 17 by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Sagittarius: M8 + NGC 6530

According to Stoyan, the open star cluster NGC 6530 in constellation Sagittarius is actually the object that Messier described as M 8. Today, however, the galactic emission nebula NGC 6523, which Messier has described as a separate object, is regarded as M 8. Here, I follow Stoyan and describe both as M 8. According to Stoyan, the Lagoon Nebula, being the brightest nebula, and the brightest open star cluster embedded in it "unite to the most awesome field in Sagittarius." Unfortunately, I was not able to see much of it ...

Map see M 16

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides an impression of what I failed to observe in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of the M 8 Nebula by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Sagittarius: M20

The galactic emission nebula M 20 in the constellation Sagittarius is called Trifid Nebula because it consists of three parts. According to Stoyan, most observers are disappointed of this nebula when they see it for the first time, because even small light pollution can "extinct" the nebula.

Map see M 16

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I might have observed in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of M 20 (Trifid Nebula) by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Sagittarius: M 21, M 23

Map see M 16

Observations


Sagittarius: M 24 (Small Sagittarius Cloud)

Map see M 16

Observations


Scutum: M 11

The globular star cluster M 11 (NGC 6705), called Wild Duck Cluster, is located in the constellation Scutum/Shield and is, according to Stoyan, regarded as the most beautiful of its kind that is visible from central Europe.

Map see M 16

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides an impression of what I failed to observe in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of the M 11 star cluster by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Andromeda: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)

The Andromeda galaxy M 31 in constellation Andromeda (but it rather is located between the constellation of Andromeda and Cassiopeia), is our neighboring galaxy and about 2.5 million light years away from us. Because it can be seen with the naked eye under good conditions (in which I have never succeeded yet), it is the most remote sky object that we can see with the naked eye. It can be seen in binoculars and in small telescopes as a diffuse shimmering elongated oval - and I have not been able to detect any details yet, although one should actually recognize the two small galaxies M 32 (like a star) and M 110 in a small telescope. In other words, light pollution is quite high in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau ...

Andromeda Galaxy M 31 and Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed (my impression was much fainter than the sketch):

Sketch of the Andromeda Galaxy by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission

Observations


Perseus: NGC884/NGC 869

The open double star cluster NGC 884/869 in Perseus is considered to be a first-rate deep sky object. Therefore, it has received a 5-star rating from Stoyan. Supposedly the double cluster should be seen with the naked eye, but I cannot confirm this. In small binoculars, however, it can already be seen well - particularly, as a double cluster.

Map see M 31

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I observed (my impression was much fainter than the sketch):

Sketch of the NGC 884/869 Double Cluster by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016) - presented with the author's permission

Observations


Pegasus: M15

M 15 (NGC 7078) is a globular star cluster that is located in the constellation Pegasus. Together with M 13, M 5, and M 3, it is counted among the "fantastic four" of the globular clusters in the northern hemisphere (Stoyan). Supposedly, it is the best globular cluster in autumn.

M 15 in the constellation Pegasus

Observations


Cassiopeia: M 103

To Stoyan's surprise, the open star cluster M 103 in the constellation Cassiopeia has made it into Messier's list as the only star cluster of the impressive stellar field in the Cassiopeia constellation (M 103, NGC 457, NGC 654, NGC 663).

M 103, to the left of it NGC 654 and NGC 663, to the right of it NGC 457 (Owl Cluster). For orientation purposed, the Andromeda galaxy M 31 is included in the map, as well as the Perseus double cluster NGC 884/869 and above it St 2, which, according to Stoyan, is a "must" for small telescopes.

Observations


Cassiopeia: NGC 663 / NGC 654

The open star cluster NGC 663 in the constellation Cassiopeia is close to the open star cluster NGC 654, and, according to Stoyan, it is interesting to observe both, jointly or alternately, depending on the telescope.

Map see M 103

Observations


Cassiopeia: NGC 457

The open star cluster NGC 457 in the constellation Cassiopeia got its name Owl Cluster due to its characteristic shape; it is also calles ET Cluster.

Map see M 103

The sketch by Michael Vlasov (DeepSkyWatch.com) provides a rough impression of what I may have wanted to observe in summer/autumn 2016: Sketch of the NGC 457 Cluster by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

Note: I only have the author's permission to link to the sketch.

Observations


Cassiopeia: St 2

The open star cluster St 2 in the constellation Cassiopeia got its name Muscle Man due to its characteristic shape and is, according to Stoyan, a "must" for small telescopes. Using small magnifications or binoculars, it can be observed together with the Perseus double cluster.

Map see M 103

Observations

 

Remarks

Preparation

When looking for deep sky objects, a good preparation is mandatory - you can read this, and I can confirm it. "Good preparation" basically means that you compile a list of the objects that you would like to observe, and to find out where and how the objects can be found. If you, as I did this time, observe the same objects three days in a row, this introduces a certain routine, and searching for the objects is faster and safer. At some point in time, boredom may set in, but this is much more the case if you are not prepared and only observe your "prime objects"...

Is it it or not?

If you point your telescope with the help of the red dot finder approximately to the desired sky object, look into the eyepiece and see nothing or only "nebulous clouds," but not something that resembles the object in question, the question arises: Is the sky too light-polluted that I can recognize the object or does the telescope point in the wrong direction? Admittedly, I am often - even after repeated attempts - not able to clarify this question for some of the objects that I try to observe "manually."

Using my Sky-Watcher Synscan AZ GoTo mount, I now have the possibility to access sky objects correctly (this does not always work as intended, though...). If I nevertheless should not recognize anything in the eyepiece, then there is not more possible with the given telescope under the given conditions...

 

References

All the star maps were created with SkySafari Plus for Apple Macintosh.

Books

Websites

On this Website

 

An den Anfang   Homepage  

gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

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made by walodesign on a mac!
17.11.2017