Sky Objects Seen in Binoculars

Introduction | Visited Sky Objects - Overview | The Objects | Links

On this page, I collect a list of sky objects that I was able to observe with my two binoculars. One of them is my fairly old Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC, a small and lightweight device that is considered as being usable for sky observations, and the other one are the TS 10 x 60 LE Porro binoculars, which have about the same magnification but can already be considered as usable for sky observations.

This list is meant to make suggestions to interested people, which sky objects can already be observed in binoculars - provided that the sky is dark enough.

Note: See also page My Binoculars.

 

Introduction

I bought the Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC in the early 1990s, because I wanted compact and powerful binoculars that I would gladly take with me on my trips. It did not disappoint me in this respect. Of course, I also used these binoculars for sky observations, well knowing that it is not a night glass, but until recently I had no other binoculars. The moon can be observed quite well with these binoculars, and in 2017, I was even able to see the Andromeda galaxy very nicely at the dark French night sky (in any case, better than ever before...). These binoculars are also well suited to observing larger open star clusters, although a magnification of 10 x is sometimes already too much, whereas for smaller open and globular clusters (and most galaxies) it may be too little...

I bought the TS 10 x 60 LE Porro binoculars in October 2017 (at Teleskop-Spezialisten), because, after the good experiences in September 2017 with a dark night sky in France, I wanted to explore whether a night glass can show even more objects than the Leica binoculars already do. My first impression with the TS binoculars are quite positive.

Figures: My binoculars, the small Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC and the large TS 10 x 60 LE

Note: See also page My Binoculars.

 

Visited Sky Objects - Overview

In the following, I provide an overview of the sky objects that I observed using my binoculars (I do not mention then moon...).

Binoculars

Overview

DSO
Name Constellation Type
Binoculars
Number Page Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC TS 10 x 60 LE
St 2 St 2 Muscle Man Cassiopeia OC Nov 13, 2017 Oct 14, 2017; Nov 13, 2017
M 31 M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda G Feb/Mar 2017; May 2017; Sep 2017, Haute Loire; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017 Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017
NGC 884/869 NGC 884/869 Perseus Double Cluster Perseus OC Oct 2016; Feb/Mar 2017; Sep 2017, Haute Loire; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017 Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017
M 34 M 34 Open Star Cluster Perseus OC Nov 13, 2017 Nov 13, 2017
Mel 20 Mel 20 Alpha Persei (= Mirfak) Cluster Perseus OC Sep 2017, Haute Loire; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017 Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017
M 13 M 13 Hercules Cluster Hercules GC Sep 2016 and 2017, Haute Loire; again and again in MH... Oct 14, 2017; Nov 13, 2017
M 92 M 92 Globular Star Cluster Hercules GC Sep 2016, Haute Loire Oct 2017
M 39 M 39 Open Star Cluster Cygnus OC Nov 13, 2017 Nov 13, 2017
CR 399 CR 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula SP Sep 2017, Haute Loire; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017 Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017
M 44 M 44 Praesepe/Crib Cancer OC Feb/Mar 2017; Mai 2017 ---
Mel 111 Mel 111 Coma Berenice Cluster Coma Berenice OC May 2017 ---
M 45 M 45 Pleiades/Seven Sisters Taurus OC Feb/Mar 2017; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017; again and again in MH... Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017
Mel 25 Mel 25 Hyades Taurus OC Feb/Mar 2017; Oct 2017; Nov 13, 2017 Oct 13/14, 2017; Nov 4, 2017; Nov 13
M 42/43 M 42/43 Orion Nebula Orion GE Feb/Mar 2017; again and again in MH..., Dec 12, 2017 Nov 4, 2017, Dec 12, 2017
M 35 M 35   Gemini OC Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

G = galaxy, GE = galactic emission nebula, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, SP = star pattern

 

The Objects

Cassiopeia: St 2 (Muscle Man)

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, which makes the most pleasure, as Stoyan points out. Using binoculars, I had, however, difficulties in finding the "Muscle Man" at all...

Stock 2 - By Roberto Mura (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons)

St 2 between Cassiopeia and Perseus (this open star cluster belongs to Cassiopeia) and Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869

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. Having a good night sky in France (September 2017), I was able so see a brighter core in binoculars (Trinovid).

Andromeda Galaxy M 31, Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869, and Mirfak (alpha Persei); also shown is the path that leads me to M 31 along three stars in the constellation Andromeda (with ny Andromeda at the top in autumn).

Observations


Perseus: NGC 884/669 (Perseus Double Cluster)

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 can 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.

Perseus Double Cluster NGC 884/869 and Andromeda Galaxy M 31 (February/March)

Observations


Perseus: M 34

The open star cluster M 34 is located in the constellation Perseus. According to Karkoschka and Stoyan, it is primarily an object for binoculars, but they also recommends to look at the cluster's center with a small telescope (that is, at low magnification).

M 34 in the constellation Perseus

Observations


Perseus: Mel 20 (Alpha Persei or Mirfak Cluster)

The open star cluster Mel 20 around the star Mirfak (Alpha Persei) in the constellation Perseus is regarded as a "star association" rather than a cluster. It is, however, not an arbitrary star pattern, because most of the stars of the association move in the same direction. The star cluster is quite large (3° according to Stoyan), visible to the naked eye, very nice in binoculars, and already too big for a telescope.

The open star cluster Mel 20 is located around Mirfak (Alpha Persei, lowest red dot) in constellation Perseus (September)

Observations


Hercules: M 13 (Hercules Cluster)

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. Overall, this cluster is an easy-to-find object, even with binoculars, 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.

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, and thus more difficult to find than M 13. In my binoculars, M 92 appeared also very small.

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

Observations


Cygnus: M 39

The open star cluster M 39 is located in the constellation Cygnus/Swan is more an objects for binoculars, whereas Stoyan and have different opinions about the look in the telescope.

M 39 on top of Cygnus

Observations


Vulpecula: CR 399 (Coat Hanger)

The asterism CR 399 is located in the constellation Vulpecula/Little Fox. Thanks to its shape, it is called Coat Hanger. I find it most easily using the constellation Cygnus/Swan and Albireo at its end.

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

Observations


Cancer: M 44 (Praesepe/Crib)

Cancer / Crab belongs to the constellations that I do not really know. And I had not read of the open star cluster Praesepe (M 44), which is also called Crib or Beehive and impressive 70' large, until 2016, when I bought deep sky books. Praesepe is located roughly at the intersection of lines emanating from Castor / Pollux and from Procyon. It was relatively faint in my binoculars (Trinovid) - almost like a nebula, but small star dots were recognizable.

M 44 (Praesepe) in Cancer / Crab and its position relative to Castor and Pollux in Gemini / Twins

Beobachtungen


Coma Berenice: Mel 111 (Coma Berenice Cluster)

The open star cluster Mel 111 in the constellation Coma Berenice, also known as Coma [Berenices] star cluster, has been known since antiquity and makes up the main part of Berenikes's hair. Following the Hyades, it is the second largest stars cluster in the sky (3.5°). I was able to see the shimmering star cluster with the naked eye, and the cluster should only be looked at with the telescope at very low magnification.

Mel 111 in constellation Coma Berenices, as well as the globular star cluster M 53 and the galaxy M 64

Observations


Taurus: M 45 (Pleiades/Seven Sisters) and Mel 25 (Hyades)

I know the Pleiades (M 45, Seven Sisters) in Taurus / Bull since my childhood. Finding them was therefore no problem for me, especially since they are already visible to the naked eye. They are also a nice object in the binoculars.

I have only learned more about the Hyades (Mel 25) in the Taurus / Bull in the winter 2016/17. They roughly form a triangle, which helps you to orient yourself. In February, for example, you can find them by starting from the Pleyades and continuing a little to the left until you reach a conspicuously yellow star. This is Aldebaran in the Taurus / Bull, which limits the base of the Hyades triangle on the left. You can then proceed to the right to the right tip of the triangle and follow the other side again to the upper left. The Hyades (5° x 4°) just fit into the field of view of opera glasses, I read (I do not own any ...), and can therefore not be seen completely in my binoculars.

    
M 45 Pleiades  

Mel 25 Hyades (large)

Observations


Orion: M 42/43 (Orion Nebula)

Orion is probably one of the constellations that almost everyone knows. His belt is also well-known, his sword probably less and also not as good to see as the belt. But exactly in the middle of this are the Orion Nebula M 42 (galactic emission nebula) and its "Appendix" M 43 located.

It is said that the Orion Nebula can be seen with the naked eye. This definitely depends on the viewing conditions, but the sword can be seen shimmering in any case when it is dark enough. It is difficult to tell for me what exactly is the the nebula in all this shimmering... Using binoculars, one can already see the nebula well and within it two bright stars. One of them is the Trapezium, an arrangement of 4 closely spaced stars at the center of the nebula. I was, however, able to resolve the Trapezium only at higher magnifications in the telescope.

In simple terms, the Orion Nebula has approximately the same size as the Moon or Sun (25 'x 30'). How extended it actually appears depends, on the one hand, on the viewing conditions and, on the other hand, on the dark adaptation of one's own eyes.

M 42 and M 43 in Orion's sword; M 78 (top left) is located between Alnitak and Betelgeuse

Observations


Gemini: M 35

I did not know the Gemini / Twins constellation so far, but recently a friend pointed me to Castor and Pollux, a pair of stars, which can be easily found at the nightly sky. The older form of the Gemini constellation reminds me of a jug lying on its side. I can therefore remember this and use it as an aid for finding the open star cluster M 35, which is supposed to be visible even to the naked eye. M 35 is, however, located on opposite (open) side of the jug (on the right) above the final star of the constellation (which somewhat "turns upwards" = the "spout").

M 35 above the right upper edge of Gemini / Twins

There is a third star on this line, but it is slightly weaker and no longer belongs to the constellation of Gemini. If you go a little bit to the left, you should find the star cluster M 35 (approximately above the final star). This was indeed possible with both of my binoculars.

Observations

 

Links

 

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13.12.2017