Deep Sky Summer Observations 2018

Observation Conditions | Observation Overview | Remarks | References

From May to mid-September 2018, I conducted simple "summer" deep sky observations, which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. These observations are quite a mishmash, though, because on the one hand I wanted to compare my Maksutov tubes, and on the other hand I wanted to try out my new refractor and compare it with the Heritage 100P...

List of observed deep sky objects (the links lead to pages describing the DSOs):

I mostly selected my observation objects using the Sky Safari 5 Pro app.


Observation Conditions

Sky Region and Objects

I restricted myself mostly to the sky region in the South-West. In the course of several months, this changed considerably, of course... An overview map does not make much sense for such a long period of time, therefore here is none...

Observation Time

It was sufficiently dark for deep sky objects only after about 9 p.m.

Observation Location

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

Devices Used

So this time we observed "manually" without any GoTo control!

General Conditions

The moon appeared on the sky at times, but did not disturb my observations. In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for Deep Sky objects.


Observation Overview

Observation Dates

Observations Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used General Remarks
May 6 OC: M 44 (Praesepe), M 67 Cancer: M 44 (Praesepe) seen in 100P, Skymax-102, TS binoculars; M 67: guessed in TS binoculars 100P, Skymax-102, TS-Fernglas ??? Some constellations visited...
Aug 2 GC: M 13 Hercules: M 13 TS binoculars    
Aug 3

GC: M 13
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

Hercules: M 13
Vulpecula: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

TS binoculars   Observed the Milky Way
Aug 10 GC: M 13
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

Hercules: M 13 (TS binoculars, Skymax-127 with different eyepieces)
Vulpecula: CR 399 (Coat Hanger; in TS binoculars)

Skymax-127, TS binoculars

32 mm Plössl, 16 mm, 10mm and probably 7 mm  
Aug 11 GC: M 13
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

Hercules: M 13 - TS-Fernglas, im OM21-Fernglas erahnt...
Vulpecula: CR 399 (Kleiderbügel) - im TS gesehen, im OM21-Fernglas teilweise...

TS binoculars, OM21 binoculars   Observed the Milky Way and several constellations with thw OM21 binoculars
Aug 14

GC: M 13
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

Hercules: M 13 - in TS binoculars, in OM21 binoculars guessed, in Skymax-102 seen with eyepieces downto 7 mm herab, and in the 100P...
Vulpecula: CR 399 (Coat Hanger) - seen in binoculars, partly seen in OM21 binoculars

100P, Skymax-102, TS binoculars 32 mm downto 7 mm  
Aug 19 GC: M 56
PN: M 57 (Ringnebel)
DS: eps Lyrae (Double Double)

Lyra: eps Lyrae (Double Double)
Skymax-127: 4 stars visible from about 100 x up; 150 x at maximum; Skymax-102: 4 stars visible from about 100 x up; 130 x and 180 x at maximum
Lyra: M 57 (Ring Nebula)
Skymax-127: up to 150 x (24, 16, 10 mm; nebula disk, almost seen the ring shape; Skymax-102: up to 130 x; eyepieces of 24, 16, 10 mm; nearly the same as Skymax-127...
Lyra: M 56 (GC)
Skymax-127: globular cluster very faint (between Lyra and Albireo); Skymax-102: ditto, even fainter as in the Skymax-127

Skymax-127, Skymax-102 24 mm, 16 mm, 10 mm

All in all, everything seen with the Skymax-102 as well, but a tiny bit better in the Symax-127

Everything very high up in the sky and difficult to find, but with exact preparation nevertheless possible...

Aug 20 DS: Alcor & Mizar, Albireo

Ursa Major: Alcor & Mizar (DS) seen well in both telescope
Cygnus: Albireo (DS) seen well in both telescope

Skymax-127, Skymax-102 24 mm and shorter Observed only double stars
Aug 21 DS: Alcor & Mizar, Albireo, eps Lyrae (Double Double)

Ursa Major: Alcor & Mizar (DS) - Mizar not separable
Cygnus: Albireo (DS) not separable
Lyra: eps Lyrae (Double Double) - only two stars seen

TS binoculars   Ditto, this time with the TS binoculars
Sep 8 GC: M 13

Hercules: M 13 (GC) seen very nice

Skymax-127 24 mm, 16 mm  
Sep 9 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)
DS: eps Lyrae (Doppelter Doppelstern)

Andromeda: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy) seen OM21 binoculars, seen better in TS binoculars
Vulpecula: CR399 (Coat Hanger) - partly seen in OM21 binoculars, seen much better in TS binoculars
Lyra: eps Lyrae (Double Double) - only two stars seen

TS binoculars, OM21 binoculars   Again, only a "binoculars" day...
Sep 11 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
GC: M 13, M 92
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)
DS: eps Lyrae (Double Double)

Andromeda: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
Hercules: M 13 (GC), M 92 (GC)
Vulpecula: CR 399
Lyra: eps Lyrae (Double Double)

PS 72/432 on AZ Pronto, TS binoculars 24 mm and shorter First use of the PS72/432; everything seen beautifully with it; ditto with the TS binoculars, also everything seen beautifully... That is, everything seen with both devices.
Sep 12 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
GC: M 13
P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)
PN: M 57 (Ring Nebula)
DS: eps Lyrae (Double Double)

Andromeda: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy) seen with PS72, 100P, TS binoculars
Hercules: M 13 (KS) seen with PS72 and 100P
Lyra: eps Lyrae (Double Double) seperated in PS72 at 108 x, similar with 100P); M 57 (Ring Nebula: ring not recognized; PS72 and 100P)
Vulpecula: CR399 (Coat Hanger) seen with PS72, 100P, TS binoculars

100P, PS 72/432 on AZ Pronto, TS binoculars 24 mm, 16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm, 2/3 x focal extender PS72: 2 x focal extender does not come into focus, ditto 10 mm eyepiece
PS72/100P: often observed the same object at a similar magnification (7 mm > 16+2x; 4 mm > 7+2x; both used with 24 and 16, 7, 4 mm)
Overall, the PS72 is more contrasty and sharper; at high magnifications the image in the 100P may be brighter (larger exit pupil), DSOs may be brighter than in the PS72
Sep 15 P: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)
PN: M 27(Dumbbell Nebula)
DS: Albireo

Vulpecula: CR 399 (Coat Hanger) - PS72 with 24 mm, 100P; M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula) seen at different magnifications up to 108 x (oval faint diffuse glow)
Cygnus: Albireo (separable already with 24 mm eyepiece)

100P, PS 72/432 on AZ Pronto 24 mm, 16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm, 2/3 x focal extender

PS72: 3 x focal extender comes into focus, even with the 10 mm eyepiece
PS72/100P: often observed the same object (except for Albireo) at similar magnification (see the day before);
high magnifications on the moon do not seem to be quite as sharp as with the PS72, but as focusing is fiddly, focusing might be the cause for this...

Bold: First observation during this observation period; PN = planetary nebula, GC = globular star cluster, OC = open star cluster, P = star pattern (asterism), DS = double star

Observed Sky Objects

Details can be found by clicking the links to the respective deep sky objects.

DSO Details
Name Constellation Type Bino 100P SM102 SM127 PS72 Remarks
Alkor & Mizar double star Ursa Major DS TS   yes yes   Mizar not separable in binoculars
M 13 Herkules Globular Cluster Hercules KS TS, OM21 yes yes yes yes seen well, even in the TS binoculars with two accompanying stars; these were just one dot in the OM21 binoculars
M 92 globular cluster Hercules KS         yes hard to find for me, smaller than M 13
eps Lyrae Double Double Lyra DS TS   yes yes  

only up from a magnification of 100 x, I was able to see 4 stars; only two stars visible in binoculars

M 57 Ring Nebula Lyra PN   yes     yes nebula disk, almost seen as a ring...
M 56   Lyra OS   yes     yes only very faint
Albireo double star Cygnus DS TS   yes yes yes beautiful, not separable in binoculars, but from a magnification of nearly 20 x up in telescopes
CR 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula SM TS, OM21 yes     yes best to observe in binoculars, but only partly in the OM21 binoculars
M 27 Dumbbell Nebula Vulpecula PN   yes     yes oval faint diffuse glow
M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda KS TS, OM21 yes     yes already visible in binoculars (the core)
M 44 Praesepe Cancer OS TS yes yes     seen very bicely
M 67   Cancer OS TS         only a "guess"...

G = Galaxy, PN = planetary nebula, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, P = star pattern (asterism), DS = double star



See the remarks on page Deep Sky Winter Observations February/March 2017.


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 was - even after repeated attempts - not able to clarify this question for some of the objects that I tried to observe on the first day.




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