We are having a spectacular run of clear stable air which has allowed observing almost every night for past 4 days. And a few more days in the forecast. I had not planned on doing anything this night, but after walking the dog decided to take the binoculars out to the front porch at 10pm and just scan around to see what i could find. I was using the 10×50 Celestron’s which are quite good quality.
I was surprised how well the objects stand out against the background light. Previously i had done this the first quarter moon rising. With no moon in the sky there was a lot more to find.
- M22 – Sagittarius Cluster: A mag 6.5 dense globular cluster. Stood out well and a compact round shape.
- M28; Mag 8.5 globular cluster. Just visible as a brighter fuzzy spot but compact circle.
- M8 – Lagoon Nebula: Mag 5 Emission Nebula and Open cluster. easily seen in binoculars but not visible naked eye. The 4 brightest stars of the open cluster form jagged horizontal line through the nebula and were easily resolved.
- M20 – Trifid Nebula: Mag 5 Emission Nebula: I could not see it! There is a dense star field at 11 o’clock which might be M21 (open cluster) but i don’t think so.
- M16 – Eagle Nebula: Mag 6.5 Emission Nebula. This should up as a faint but large bright area in the binocular FoV. Note that the Hubble’s “Pillars of Creation” are here.
- M17 – Omega Nebula: Mag 7 cluster with nebulosity. Just should and a little east of M16 it appeared as another faint fuzzy patch. M18 is also in the area, but i didn’t take any note of it.
- M11 – Wild Duck Cluster: Mag 7 open cluster. Showed up well as a dense bright oval. No stars resolved in the binoculars.
- M10 and M12 – Gumball Nebula: M10 is mag 7.5 and 25′ diam; M12 is Mag 8, 16′ diam. While M12 is fainter, its more compact to more of the light is concentrated in the centre and making it easier to see. M12 was easy to find while M10 appeared noticeable fainter.
- M57 – Ring Nebula: Mag 9.5 Planetary Nebula. I was pleased that i could find it. Although it was just at the limit of being detectable and appeared as a slightly brighter fuzzy spot with viewed with averted vision.
- M31 – Andromeda Galaxy: Mag 4.5 and 2.1deg long. I could not see it visually as it was still rising out of the glow of the neighboring city. Through binoculars it was easy to find with the elongated shape obvious.