(IAAC) Obj: M4, M80, NGC6144, Sigma Sco, Beta Sco - Inst: Vixen 102mm FL

Observers name: Bill Becker
Observing site: my Backyard
Site classification: Suburban
Seeing: 6
Sky darkness/limiting magnitude: 5.5
Telescope used: Vixen 102 FL
Magnifications used: 51x & 102x
Date & time: 28/5/2000 6:10 UT

Finally got a clear night. The transparency was great tonight, the
seeing only average. Scorpius looked pretty good so I thought I'd peruse
some of its' attractions.

M4: Easily located in my 6x30 finder, I then trained the 4" on it and as
always, it impressed the heck out of me. It's a very large globular that
has many stars packed rather loosely. At 51x, few stars were resolved
but boosting the power to 102x and there were stars everywhere. The core
of this one was fairly bright, not comparable to say, a 47 Tucane or
Omega Centauri but never the less, an impressive sight at my 42* 55'
location. Just a few trees to contend with! I use this globular every
year as a sort of welcome to warmer & sometimes steadier nights of the
on coming summer season.

M80: easy star hop to locate this one. This is a fine contrast to M4:
very condensed only about a third the size of M4. There's a mag 8.5 star
just off to the N.E....makes finding this globular so easy. I'm always
impressed with the brightness of the thing. In fact this combo of M4 &
M80 in Scorpius kind of reminds me of the tandem of M13 & M92 in
Hercules. Aren't globular clusters great?!?!

NGC 6144: I JUST posted a comment on the difficulty of finding this
bugger yesterday so I though I'd give it a shot tonight....never tried
it with my 4". Well, I guess the contrast factor in a fluorite apo made
the difference. This 9th magnitude wonder finally made itself available!
Talk about your faint fuzzies. I had to keep Antares outside of the fov
to glimpse it and yes, that was all I could do, glimpse it. I noticed a
12th magnitude star and using averted vision, saw a faint ghostly glow.
As I was not sure if what I saw was real, I slowly scanned to the west
back and forth and sure enough, this glow moved at the same time.
Eureka! What a feeling of accomplishment that was! This is definitely
one not to try with any sort of Moon out.

Sigma Sco(20): Easily split double with the primary of mag 2.9. &
companion being 8.5. The separation of 20" made this easy. You can find
the B star at PA
273* and the colours appeared to be bluish-white for the primary and a
"steady" blue for the comes. 

Beta Sco: 13.6" separates the A & C stars. A is mag 2.6 & C is 4.9. The
C star is located at PA of 21*. What about the B star? Well it's a 10th
magnitude dot located only 0.5" away from the A star so none of the
scopes I have will touch this one. I suspect a very large aperture scope
& perfect seeing would be required for this one....anyone here split
this thing?

The time really got away from me(1:30 local time) so I called an end to
tonights observing session. I did try some of my new gadgets: 4mm Tak
HI-OR & a 5mm Pentax SMC ortho but the seeing wouldn't allow for any
useful determinations. I also tried my Gary Russell 42mm SWA on my 7"
Meade Mak with a 6.3 focal reducer....wrong thing to do. Could hardly
see a thing for the tunnel vision. Better take the f.r. off nest time!

Until next time, clear & steady skies to all.

Best regards,
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