Deep Sky Summer/Autumn Observations Spetember 2017

Conditions | Observation Overview | Observed Objects | Remarks | References

In progress

In September 2017, I did simple "deep-sky summer / autumn observations", which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. They took place in Sumène, Haute Loire, France, and were carried out with my 10 x 25 binoculars and my Sky-Watcher Heritage 100 Dobsonian telescope, that is, with simple means.

List of observed deep sky objects:

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

 

Conditions

Sky Region and Objects

I confined my observations to the sky area in the south with Hercules, Cygnus, Lyra on the one hand, and to the area between Andromeda, Cassiopeia, and Perseus on the other hand, as well as Pegasus in between, and Ursa Major in the North.

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.:

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

Observation Time

The observations were done in September 2017, mostly after 9 p.m..

Observation Location

The observations took place in Sumène (close to Saint Julien-Chapteuil), Haute Loire (France):

Devices Used

I used my Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC binoculars, which are by no means "night binoculars," and my Sky-Watcher Heritage 100 Dobsonian telescope. With the latter, I used my UWA eyepieces (16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm) and a 24 mm Televue eyepiece for a maximum overview.

General Conditions

The sky above Sumène, Haute Loire (Frankreich) is relatively dark (the Betz observatorium used by the Orion43 group is near-by). In part, the obervations were done around new moon, later under increasing (and rising) moon. Initially, the milky way could be seen very well. Regrettably, we had only a few days with clear skies, and later the moon reappeared.

 

Observation Overview

Observation Details

Date Observed Objects Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used General Remarks
Sep 10 or 11, 2017

GC: M 13 (Hercules Cluster)

I was able to find M 92 in Hercules. binoculars    
Spe 13, 2017

G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
GC: M 13

  binoculars   Access to M 31 via three brighter stars in Andromeda (der last and closest one is ny Andromeda)
Sep 18, 2017 G: M 31   binoculars    
Sep 20, 2017

G: M 31
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

  Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm Access to CR 399 via Cygnus and Albireo
Sep 21, 2017

G: M 81/82 (Bode Galaxies)
OC: NGC 457 (E.T./Owl Cluster), NGC 884/869 (Perseus Double Cluster), Mel 20 (Alpha Persei-Cluster)
KS: M 15
DS: Mizar as double star, Double Double

NGC 663 and M 103 not found; Double Double only seen as pair Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm  
Sep 22, 2017

G: M 31
OC: NGC 457, NGC 884/869, Mel 20
DS: Double Double, Albireo
P: CR399

NGC 663 and M 103 not found; Double Double only seen as pair Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P, binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm  
Sep 29, 2017 G: M 31
OS: NGC 884/869, Mel 20, perhaps NGC 457
SM: CR 399
Half moon, therefore the milky way was hard to see with the naked eyes; for the same reason , M 31 not as large and bright as before binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm  

Bold: First observation during this observation period; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, P = star pattern

Overview of the Observed Sky Objects (Mostly Objects Found)

DSO
Name Constellation Bino* 100P Type Remarks Sketch+
Details Page
M 13 M 13 Herkule Cluster Hercules ja ja GC prime objects ja
Double Double     Lyra   ja DS seen only as pair, not as "double pair"  
CR 399 CR 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula ja ja P in binoculars shape better to recognize than in the telescope  
Albireo     Cygnus   ja DS Nice color difference, leads the way ti the Coat Hanger  
M 15 M 15   Pegasus   ja GC Smaller than M 13  
M 31 M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda ja ja G in the North-East; seen as bright and large as never before, particularly with binoculars ja
NGC 884/869 NGC 884/869 Perseus Double Cluster Perseus ja ja OC in the North-East, already visible to the naked eye ja
Mel 20 Mel 20 Alpha Persei Cluster (Mirfak) Perseus ja ja OC Beautiful, even with the naked eye  
NGC 457 NGC 457 Owl or E.T. Cluster Cassiopeia   ja? OC Relatively small, they eyes stand out Link
M 81/82 M 81/82 Bode Galaxies Ursa Major   ja G In Suméne, bothe galaxies were easily visible  
Mizar     Ursa Major   ja DS The pair was easy to see  

*) 10 x 25 binoculars; +) Sketches by Michael Vlasov, DeepSkyWatch.com; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, P = star pattern

Searched for, but not found: M 57, M 56, M 92, M 103, NGC 663

 

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

At the end of August 2016, I observed M 13 many times with the Heritage 100P, the Heritage P130, and the GSD 680 in various magnifications.

On September 1, I observed it using the Heritage 100P, on September 7, using the Skymax-102, and on September 9, using the Heritage P130, all on the GoTo mount in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau. M 13 was my prime object (and then came M 92...). Whenever I was not able to find anything else, M 13 always worked!

At the end of September and the beginning of October 2016, I observed M 13 with the Heritage 100P in various magnifications and with binoculars in France (Sumène, Haute Loire).


Lyra: Double Double

In preparation


Vulpecula: CR 399

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

Overview map with CR 399

Regrettably, I did not find it. Location, observation date, and telescopes used are unknown/forgotten.


Cygnus: Albireo

In preparation


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

France (Sumène, Haute Loire): Observed with Heritage 100P at different magnifications (up to 100 x) in early October 2016 (not found at first).

Found in Mühlhausen / Kraichgau on October 31, 2016 with Heritage 100P - with 16 mm, 7mm, and 4mm eyepieces (= up to 100 x); not found using binoculars.


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

Observed at the beginning of September in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau: Sep 3 with Heritage 100P, Sep 6 with GoTo and Heritage 100P, and Sep 9 with GoTo and Heritage P130: Diffuse glow, no details.

Observed at the end of September, beginning of October in France (Sumène, Haute Loire): Observed with Heritage 100P in various magnifications, no details


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

France (Sumène, Haute Loire): Observed with Heritage 100P at various magnifications (both together at low magnifications and one at a time at higher magnifications) and using binoculars at the beginning of October 2016.


Perseus: Mel 20 (Alpha Persei Cluster)

...

Map in preparation

...

Observed in France (Sumène, Haute Loire) at the beginning of October 2016 using the Heritage 100P in different magnifications - probably, it looked more like a small asterism, though...


Cassiopeia: NGC 457

The open star cluster NGC 457 in the constellation Cassiopeia got its name Owl Nebula due to its characteristic shape.

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.

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 Nebula by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

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

Probably not observed, but included as a reminder for future observations...


Ursa Major: M 81/82 (Bode Galaxies)

The Bode galaxies M 81 and M 82 are located in the constellation Ursa Major/Big Bear (Big Dipper). M 81 is the main galaxy of a galaxy group, which also includes the M 82 galaxy. Only in a small telescope, the two can be observed together, because the viewing angle should, according to Stoyan, be at least 1.5°. M 81 is a spiral galaxy, which is seen from above, whereas M 82 is an irregular galaxy, which is seen in edge position. Without the GoTo mount, I probably would never have found these galaxies. They were only hard to see under the given observing conditions.

M 81 and M 82, the Bode galaxies in Ursa Major

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 Bode galaxies by Michael Vlasov (Copyright © Michael Vlasov 2016)

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

Observations

On March 2, I looked out for the Bode galaxies M 81 and M 82 in the constellation Ursa Major/Big Bear (Big Dipper), using the Heritage P130 telescope on the GoTo mount. This way, I was fairly certain that I would have them in my view. Whether I would be able to see them was, of course, open... Actually, I was able to see both of them very faintly. M 81, that is, the galaxy at which one looks from above, was a little bit easier to recognize.

Without the GoTo mount, I probably would never have found the galaxies...


Ursa Major: Mizar

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

Observed in France (Sumène, Haute Loire) at the beginning of October 2016 using the Heritage 100P in different magnifications; NGC 654 probably not found...

 

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

About me
made by walodesign on a mac!
14.10.2017