(IAAC) Obj: M5, M9, M19, M107, NGC6604, M16, M17, M18, M24, M23, M25, M21, M8, NGC6530, M28, M22, M26, NGC6712, M11 (Southern sky tour) - Inst: Astroscan 4.1" f/4.2 Widefield


Observer: Martin Baur
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 30.06.00 23:45 to 01.07.00 02:30 CET
Location of site: Clearing near Hofgeismar, Germany (Lat 820 ft, Elev +51)
Site classification: Exurban
Sky darkness: ~5.0 after midnight <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing:  <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: Astroscan 4.1" f/4.2 Widefield
Magnification: 21x
Filter(s): UHC
Object(s): M5, M9, M19, M107, NGC6604, M16, M17, M18, M24, M23, M25, M21, M8, NGC6530, M28, M22, M26, NGC6712, M11 (Southern sky tour)
Category: Emission nebula.
Class: Cluster and nebulae
Constellation: several
Data: mag   size 
Position: RA :  DEC :
Last night I had the rare chance of touring the central region of our
Milky Way.  And it became a delightful observation.

To understand my enthusiasm you should know: I live at an latitude of
+51o ad the region around Sagittarius is only in the months from June
till August above horizon. Unfortunately in this season the sky
doesn't get completely dark and observations are only possible for
about two hours from dusk till dawn. And it's always a windfall to
have a clear sky in this two hours.

Most of the following observations (esp. Sgr) were made in the skyglow
above the southern horizon where only few stars are visible to unaided eyes.

I started with M 5 in Serpens. It seemed to be an easy object but it
took a few minutes till I found it. This globular was very bright, of
medium size and roundish shape. No stars were resolved.

After M 5 I changed to Ophiuchus. M 9 was very faint, only clearly
visible with averted vision and fairly small as a pale patch.

M 19 was only a little bit brighter than M 9 and fairly small as
well. Like a brother of M 9.

The most difficult globular of the night was M 107. Extremely faint
and only spotted by averted vision with a slight moving of the
scope. Very pale but position confirmed.

From the globulars of Ophiuchus I moved to Serpens Cauda. A seldom
observed object and almost forgotten because it completely lacks in
Tirion's Sky Atlas is NGC 6604. This open cluster is located only one
brighter star north from M 16. I saw a group of approximately 10 to 12
stars with only little concentration. Scattered and well resolved.

M 16 however is a pretty small cluster. Most stars are fairly
concentrated to one point but a few stars of the southern part of the
cluster are detached. The nebula was barely visible with UHC. But I'm
not absolutely sure.

Now I entered Sagittarius. Step by step towards the horizon. The first
clearly seen nebula of the night was M 17, Omega. Already without UHC
it dominated over the open cluster. The cluster was located north from
it. Resolved with averted vision and concentrated. With UHC the nebula
was very bright and quite large. A really worth seeing object even
under this conditions.

M 18 is only a star hop away in southern direction. A pretty small
cluster of nearly roundish shape. With averted vision it was a grainy
sight. Like faint concentrated stars.

Next I struck M 24. A rich starfield which filled my whole eyepiece
with many brighter and fainter stars. Slightly longish in shape. This
one was my starting point to M 23 and M 25.

M 23 was a rather faint cluster, quite large beside a brighter
star. Many faint stars were barely visible with averted vision.

A pretty counterpart to M 23 is M 25. It includes brighter stars with
more concentration to the center. Well resolved and very worth seeing.

The next object was a little surprising. M 21 is located next to a
scattered field of brighter stars and I had to look twice to spot
it. It was smaller than I expected and only a faint glittering around
one of the brighter stars at the northwestern corner of the field.
Barely resolved and very inconspicuous.

At the southeastern corner waited a nebula that I had known only from
colourful images in astronomy books till today. The Trifid
Nebula. Without UHC it was only suspected, but with the filter in my
eyepiece and averted vision plus moving my pupil I saw the brightening
around a star. The best example of what a filter can achieve.

No problems with the detection did I have with M 8, the Lagoon
Nebula. However it was less outstanding than M 17. A faint glow
without UHC but with filter easily visible. The nebula seemed to be
splitted into two brighter regions. Embedded is the cluster NGC 6530,
somewhat resolved with faint stars. A small and concentrated cluster.

At this point was my prepared list of objects in Sgr complete but I
wanted more. I decided to try the two globulars M 28 and M 22. First
M 28 only one or two hops in western direction.  It recalled my
observations of M 9 and M 19. Very faint, small and only visible with
averted vision.

M 22 is very similar to M 4 in Sco. Quite large and bright despite the
nearby horizon. Of course I weren't able to resolve any stars. With
this globular ended my Sagittarius tour and I swept to Scutum.

As you can imagine M 11 and M 26 were my goals. But I still have a
little surprise for you.

First I observed M 26. It appeared as a small roundish patch and was
fairly faint. No stars were resolvable.

Not far away I spotted the very faint and small globular cluster NGC
6712. Only visible with averted vision but still clearer than M 107.
My faintest globular with this instrument so far.

M 11 rounds off the observation. Pretty small and fairly bright open
cluster. No stars resolvable but nevertheless an impressive sight.

I was really taken with the result of this night. What sight must
Sagittarius be if it stands in zenith?! I'm sure I will return with
the next chance of touring through our galaxy's center.

Clear skies,
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