(IAAC) Obj: M2 - Inst: 20" f/5 dob newt

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Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate
Date and UT of Observation: 1997-07-5/6, 07:15 UT
Location: Savoy, MA, USA (42N, elev 700m)
Site classification: rural
Limiting magnitude: 6.9 to 6.0 (in growing twilight)
Seeing: 4 of 10 - medium good
Moon up: no
Instrument: 20" f/5 Tectron truss-tube dob Newtonian reflector
Magnification: 210x, 420x, 630x
Filters used: None
Object: M 2
Category: Globular cluster [II]
Constellation: Aqr
Data: mag 6.6  size 12.9'
RA/DE: 21h33m  -00o49m
By far the best thing to look at during growing twilight (aside
from the brighter planets) are GLOBULAR CLUSTERS! The Messiers
and bright NGCs are especially satisfying, as a brightening sky
provides a fascinating kaleidoscope of changing contrast effects.
On this morning, I noted that the bright core of M2 was showing
three strikingly BRIGHT "lobes" or pseudopods of unresolved haze
at 210x. These lobes pointed NE, SSW, and E, each being about 2'
long and all of them being arrayed in a pretty trefoil around the
brightest center of the cluster. Switching epcs to 420x - racing
against time - these 3 lobes appeared yet MORE prominent (despite
the fact that the cluster was more completely resolved), while a
mag. 12 star was noted directly opposite to and offsetting the E
lobe. The outer, still-unresolved halo of the globular actually
appeared "eagle-shaped" (or maybe "bomber-jet" shaped!), showing
a distinct dark area W of the core; while the core extended to
the E, tapering from 4' wide at center out to a much fainter 1'
wide halo, before ending abruptly in dark field after 6'; while
the halo spewed out LONG wing-shaped outliers extending 8' both
to N & S symmetrically, with well-resolved stars then straggling
outward to finally merge with the background field. At 630x, now
well into twilight, many stars resolved throughout the cluster -
even sparkling in dizzying swarms over the still hazy innermost
core, which was now an unresolved irregular blob, less than 2'
wide, brightening rapidly to a stunning, stellar nucleus. As the
terrestial objects around me began to assume distinct shapes, I
breathed a sigh, and then began writing my log furiously, trying
to get this all down before swinging on to some planets. FUN!! :)