(IAAC) Instrument: 16" Dob Object: M57

Observer:  Todd Gross
Your skill:  Intermediate 
Date and UT of observation: 6/6/97 0600 GMT
Location & latitude: 22 miles west of Boston, Ma. 42.3N
Site classification: Suburban

Limiting magnitude (visual): 5.3 (estimated) 5.3(est) in vicinity of object
Seeing (1 to 5 - best to worst):  2>Moon up (phase?): No
Instrument: 16" Dob, 96%, 99% coatings
Magnifications:  204x, 353x, 570x
Filters used: none
Object: M57, ring nebula
Constellation: Lyra
Object data: PN

Description: Very similar to photographs, the Ring Nebula appeared as a
bright, thick smoke ring with a nebulous interior. Oval shaped.  

14.6 magnitude double was visible near the ring, on one of the long sides,
and on the same side, an estimated 15.3 magnitude star directly opposite the
13th magnitude star which just about touches the Ring's tip was seen with
direct vision. This star like the 13th magnitude (listed as 12.5 erroneously
in many sources) was just about touching the narrow tip of the ring, but on
the opposite end. I had no prior knowledge of this star's existence. 

The above was encouraging, so I tried to see the Central Star(s). I was only
able to make out the one in the very center of the Ring Nebula, fleetingly,
but a positive sighting, with averted vision only. This was my first time
achieving this. This was visible at 353x, and 570x, and briefly at 204x.
570x was the easiest to achieve this and skies were just barely steady
enough to support that magnification. The other central star may have been
glimpsed briefly, but in no way could I definitely place or confirm it.

Thanks!   -Todd

Todd Gross
Boston Meteorologist
homepage: www.weatherman.com