Deep Sky Summer Observations August/September 2021

Conditions | Observation Overview | List of Observed Sky Objects | References

In August and September 2021, I did simple "deep-sky summer observations," which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. They took place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau.

This time, I describe the observations a bit more thoroughly...



Sky Region and Objects

In August/September 2021, I observed mostly the following sky area (some observed objects are indicated): :

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy,

Observation Time

The observations were done in August and September 2021.

Observation Location

The observations took place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

Devices Used

General Conditions

In Mühlhausen/Kraichgau, the sky was not particularly dark (up to SQM 20).


Observation Overview

Observed Objects Details, Remarks Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used
Aug 11
Moon, Venus
OC: M 11
GC: M 13
PN: M 27, M 57
Photographed crescent of the moon and Venus (Sony RX100M1); in C5 and C8 saw the moon just so through leaves, it stood already very low...

Targets (observed with both tubes, always first with one telescope, mostly with the C8, then with both):

  • M 13: relatively large, in the center possibly resolved into stars (with the C8 more than with the C5).
  • M 11: nice, but a completely different view than with cameras
  • M 27: roundish, somewhat structured nebula spot
  • M 57: ring visible with both tubes, so we saw the hole in the center (at the end, I found M 57 also with the C5...)

Set up done from about 7 pm. From about 10 pm alignment done and then observed (until midnight); thereafter still sat outside until half past 1 am, but saw no shooting stars... Unpacking and packing the next day took 45-60 min each...

Started with 3-star alignment (Arcturus, Alkaid, Dubhe). Arcturus was miserably approached from the "home position", after centering on Arcturus. Missed Alkaid considereably, and then aborted and continued with 1-star alignment (Arcturus; Altair, for M 57 at the AZ-GTi also Lyra (with some effort)). Overall, the SD was better than the AZ-GTi, where I often had to search for a long time (sometimes repeated the alignment.... Tracking was so so with both, but the objects stayed in the field of view for minutes, and I did not lose any of them because of poor tracking.

Controlled the mounts with two iPhones; sometimes, I got the wrong one and adjusted the already set up mount and had to set it up again... Astrid's iPhone quickly ran out of battery, and I charged it in between. But I managed to get by with both of them (mine was OK)...

Conclusions: The objects were about the same size in both telescopes, so that one was well able to compare them. Overall, the C8 was probably better (stars in M13 better resolved), but the two telescopes were not way different...

Nevertheless, we decided not to sell the C8 for the time being, but to keep it. The sky background seemed a bit brighter in the C8 than in the C5, as did the objects themselves, I guess.

We did not notice any differences due to the zenith mirrors (Lacerta, Celestron) and eyepieces.... The crosshair eyepiece appeared surprisingly good. The small angle of view was OK for the observed objects.

C5 on AZ-GTi mount (Celestron PowerTank) and AZ5 tripod, C8 on Star Discovery mount (SW PowerTank)

Used C5 and C8 with 1.25" accessories, C8 with f/6.3 Reducer, so that about the same focal length resulted (1250, 1280 mm).


Eye pieces: 23 mm cross hairs eye pice and 24 mm Televue eye piece (magnification between 52 x and 55 x); sometimes used the 32 mm Digiscope eyepiece in order to find objects more easily.

In between I changed the eyepieces, probably had the 23 mm later on the C8 (initially on the C5). I did not use the crosshair eyepiece for alignment for the second tube, but centered by "eye"...

Aug 12
GC: M13
Target: M 13, worse than on the previous day, at 7 mm large, hazy and washed out. After that, veil clouds made further observations impossible; but also already during this observation the sky was somewhat "veiled"...

Initially, I observed the crescent moon with an Amici prism (24 mm); after 10 pm, I observed with a zenith mirror (SQM 19-20, veiling clouds). C5 on AZ Pronto mount 32, 24, and 7 mm (wanted 16 mm,but grasped the wrong eyepiece...)
Aug 13
Moon, Jupiter, Saturn
OC: M 11
GC: M 13
PN: M 27, M 57
SP: Cr 399
DS: Albireo
Targets (order probably not quite correct):
  • M 13: searched long for M 13, relatively large, at 7 mm (approx. 180 x) resolved into stars in the center, but faint...
  • M 57: ring recognizable, so saw the hole in the center, also with 7 mm (approx. 180 x), but then faint
  • Albireo: almost best seen with 32 mm, after that only "further apart"...
  • M 11: nice, but a completely different view than with cameras; found via Albireo ff.
  • Jupiter: quite bright, 1-2 stripes visible; moons not identified
  • Saturn: nice to see (32, 24, 16 mm), moons not identified
  • Cr 399 (Coat Hanger) : in LT binoculars and in C5 with 32 mm and reducer (almost fits in the field of view)
  • M 27: found by chance while passing the Milky Way; roundish, somewhat structured nebula spot; observed at different magnifications (32, 24, 16 mm)

This was more or less the repetition of the day before, or better, a second try...

First observed the crescent moon with an Amici prism (24 and 32 mm); after 10 pm observed with a zenith mirror (SQM 19-20, clear sky, maybe minimal veiling clouds).

Observed from Coat Hanger on with a reducer (but do no longer remember the exact order...)


C5 on AZ Pronto mount, LT binoculars


32, 24, and 7 mm (wanted 16 mm, got it wrong...); later, after Jupiter/Saturn also used 16 mm, after I had realized my mistake.
Aug 14
Jupiter, Saturn
OC: M 11
GC: M 3, M 10, M 12, M 13, M 14, M 15, M 56, M 71, M 92
G: M 51
GN: M 16, M 17
PN: M 27, M 57
  • M 13: very nice, resolved into stars; immediately found centered, but quickly slipped a bit to the edge; manually centered, but slipped again to the edge (but then stayed there...).
  • M 92: also nice, smaller, also resolved into stars; also drifted to the edge, but then stayed there.
  • M 57: ring nicely visible; not quite at the center
  • M 27: very "fuzzy"; quite left at the beginning, centered manually
  • M 56: faint, smaller than M 13/M 92; was left at the beginning, centered manually
  • M 51: very faint, but two dots visible, hardly more; was also not centered, but more to the upper right; centered manually
  • M 11: very nice and large; almost centered
  • M 71: faint, but nice, smaller than M 13/M 92; stood left at the beginning, centered manually
  • M 16: nebula not found, only the star cluster was good to see
  • Saturn: very nice, also with 16 mm eyepiece; moons seen but not identified; not centered, but in the field of view
  • M 17: nebula faint, but visible (was horizontal...); centered
  • M 14: rather faint and not resolvable; centered
  • M 10: larger and brighter than M 14, resolvable into stars
  • M 12: again fainter and not resolvable
  • M 15: much brighter than the previous globular clusters, quite resolvable (SQM 20.1); only found in 2nd attempt (GoTo repeated; far away from M 12 & company)
  • M 51 (da capo): still very faint; quite right at the beginning.... (longer way from M 15)
  • M 57 (dacapo): the second attempt was probably a bit better (darker sky)
  • M 3: not found; quite low and the sky there quite bright and starless
  • Jupiter: very bright, rings hard to see, 4 moons recognized; found only on 2nd attempt (GoTo again)....
  • Arcturus (alignment test): found only after 3 GoTo attempts (right); thereupon alignment repeated...
  • M 3 (da dacapo): rather faint; but now found!

Am Ende etwas nach Mitternacht SQM 20...

21 Ziele angefahren einschließlich Arktur, davon sind 3 Wiederholungen (also 18 Ziele...).

This was meant as a test to find out whether the C8 can be operated with the StarSense module. For this purpose, a new calibration was necessary, which I did successfully according to my instructions (Arcturus for calibration; from 10 p.m. on; SQM 19.8). Time/location settings: current time, Frankfurt. Setting everything up took about half an hour.

Observed until about midnight with a SQM of 20.1 at maximum; SQM 20 at the end again...

Conclusions: Only a few targets were exactly centered after approaching them via GoTo, but except for Arcturus and nearby M 3, all targets were within the field of view of 0.9°, although a few of them only after issuing a new GoTo command (and two more at Saturn...); possibly due to longer paths to the next target...

Tracking seems to have worked, but I only spent a few minutes on each target.

All in all, if everything works fine, I find using the StarSense module much more pleasant than a "usual" GoTo control!



C8 on Star Discovery mount with StarSense module and handbox

2" zenith mirror; Sky-Watcher PowerTank

26 mm eyepiece (2"; 78 x; 0.9°) and rarely 16 mm (1.25"; 127 x; 0.65°)
Sep 1
Jupiter, Saturn
OC: M 11
GC: M 13
Targets: Jupiter (4 moons), Saturn (perhaps 3 moons), M 11, M 13 (resolved a bit...) SQM 20 bis 20,1 C5 auf AZ Pronto-Montierung 32, 24, 16, and 10 mm; 10 mm only for M 13

Bold: First observation during this observation period; all observations done in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (MH); G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, GN = galactic nebula, PN = planetary nebula, P = star pattern, DS = double star


List of Observed Sky Objects

Object details can be obtained via the links to the relevant deep sky objects.

Name Sternbild Typ Bino* C5 C5R TLAPO
C8 C8R Bemerkungen
Cr 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula P LT   yes       Nice
M 3   Canes Venatici GC         yes   Not found at first; quite low at the horizon, and sky there quite bright and poor of stars. Found after a new alignment, but faint
M 10   Ophiuchus GC         yes   Larger and brighter than M 14, resolvable into stars
M 11 Wild Duck Cluster Scutum OC   yes     yes yes Very nice, large in the C8
M 12   Ophiuchus GC         yes   Fainter than M 10, not resolvable into stars
M 13 Hercules Cluster Hercules GC   yes     yes yes Nice in both tubes; large in the C8 resolvable into stars; large in C5 with 10 mm eyepiece
M 14   Ophiuchus GC         yes   Faint and not resolvable into stars
M 15   Pegasus GC         yes   Much brighter than the GC observed before in Ophiuchus, fairly well resolvable into stars (SQM 20.1)
M 16 Eagle Nebula Sagittarius GN         yes   Did not find the nebula, but saw the star cluster well
M 17 Omega/Scwan Nebula Sagittarius GN         yes   Nebula faint, but recognizable (in a horizontal position...)
M 27 Dumbbell Nebula Sagittarius GC   yes     yes yes Very "fuzzy" on the last day (Aug 14), otherwise a roundish, somewhat strctured nebula spot
M 51 Whirlpool Galaxy Scorpius GC         yes   Very faint, but saw two brighter spots (the galaxy cores), but not more...
M 56   Lyra GC         yes   Faint, smaller than M 13/M 92
M 57 Ring Nebula Lyra PN   yes     yes yes Ring recognizable, that is, we saw the hole at the center, also with 7 mm (about 180 x), but faint with the latter...
M 71   Sagitta GC         yes   Faint, but nice, smaller than M 13/M 92
M 92   Hercules GC         yes   Also nice, smaller than M 13, also resolvable into stars
Albireo   Ophiuchus DS   yes         Nice at low magnification; only "farther apart" at higher magnifications...

*) LT = 10 x 25 binoculars, TS = 10 x 60 binoculars; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, P = star pattern, GN = galactic nebula, PN = planetary nebula, MW = Milky Way




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