Jump to content


  • entries
  • comments
  • views

The 4" Urban Stargazing Summer Plan



General Plan

I've decided to include my general observing plan for the warm summer months ahead because I feel it will not only help direct my own observations and studies but may also help other folk trying to decide what urban wonders they might be able to try for in the following weeks.

The listing information includes Messier objects, NGC wonders, and Double Star gems which I think are worth taking a shot at even if the possibility of success isn't 100%.

Unless directed otherwise the listing will be set out as follows:

  • Target Name: Constellation; Type; Level of Subjective Difficulty 1 (relatively easy) to 4 (very difficult).

The Messier List

M 13: Hercules Globular Cluster 1

M 92: Hercules Globular Cluster 2 - 3

M 29: Cygnus Open Cluster 2

M 39: Cygnus Open Cluster 3 - 4

M 5: Serpens Globular Cluster 2

M 16: Serpens Open Cluster 1

M 10: Ophiuchus Globular Cluster 2

M 12: Ophiuchus Globular Cluster 2

M 19: Ophiuchus Globular Cluster 2

M 62: Ophiuchus Globular Cluster 2 - 3

M 107: Ophiuchus Globular Cluster 2 - 3

M 57: Lyra Planetary Nebula 1

M 56: Lyra Globular Cluster 3 - 4

M 27: Vulpecula Planetary Nebula 2 - 3

M 71: Sagitta Globular Cluster 4

M 8: Sagittarius Galactic Nebula 1

M 17: Sagittarius Galactic Nebula 1

M 20: Sagittarius Galactic Nebula 3

M 21: Sagittarius Open Cluster 3

M 23: Sagittarius Open Cluster 2 - 3

M 22: Sagittarius Globular Cluster 3 - 4

M 25: Sagittarius Open Cluster 2 - 3

M 28: Sagittarius Globular Cluster 3 - 4

M 54: Sagittarius Globular Cluster 4

M 55: Sagittarius Globular Cluster 3 - 4

M 11: Scutum Open Cluster 1

M 4: Scorpius Globular Cluster 2

M 80: Scorpius Globular Cluster 3

M 6: Scorpius Open Cluster 1 - 2

M 7: Scorpius Open Cluster 1 - 2

A Few New General Catalogue (NGC) Wonders

NGC 6235: Orphiuchus Globular Cluster 4

NGC 6572: Orphiuchus Planetary Nebula 2 - 3

NGC 6910: Cygnus Open Cluster 2

NGC 6866: Cygnus Open Cluster 3 - 4

NGC 6819 Cygnus Open Cluster 2 - 3

NGC 6826 Cygnus Planetary Nebula 1 - 2

NGC 6834 Cygnus Open Cluster 3 - 4

NGC 6830 Vulpecula Open Cluster 3 - 4

NGC 6823 Vulpecula Open Cluster 2 - 3

NGC 6302 Scorpius Planetary Nebular 1 - 2

NGC 6543 Draco Planetary Nebular 3 - 4

Double Stars: The Little Gems

The listing information will be as follows:

  • Target Name: Constellation; Folk Name

Kappa Herculis (k Her) - - - - - Hercules - - Marfik, Marfak, Marsic (The Elbow)

Alpha Herculis (α Her) - - - - - Hercules - - Rasalgethi (Head of the Kneeler)

Alpha Scorpii (α Sco) - - - - - Scorpius - - - Antares (The Anti-Mars)

Beta Scorpii (β Sco) - - - - - Scorpius - - - Acrab

Beta Cygni (β Cyg) - - - - - Cygnus - - - - - Albireo (The Hen's Beak)

61 Cygni - - - - - - - - - - - - -Cygnus - - - - - Bessel's Star

Epsilon Lyrae (ε Lyr) - - - - -Lyra - - - - - The Double Double

Zeta Ursae Majoris (ζ UMa) - - - - - Ursa Major - - - - Mizor & Alcor

Alpha Ursae Minoris (α UMi) - - - - - Ursa Major - - - - - Polaris, (The Pole Star)

Alpha Canis Venaticorum (α CVn) - - - - - Canes Venatici - - - - - - Cor Caroli

Epsilon Boötis (ε Boo) - - - - - Bootes - - - - - Izar & Pulcherrima (The Veil & The Loveliest)

Mu Boötis (μ Boo) - - - - - - - - Bootes - - - - -Alkalurops

Gamma Delphini (γ Del) - - - - - Delphinus - - - - - Job's Coffin

I hope this helps in some manner of ways :bino2:

  • Like 5


Recommended Comments

Look forward to seeing how this progresses, and if the cloud ever lifts, whether I can follow through my own eyepiece :). Will you update regularly against this list so we can se how you do?

  • Like 1
Link to comment

It'll be a pleasure, Marki and thank you for your kind support and interest. I don't expect to finish the list - what with seeing conditions, LP and the relatively late nights necessary for some of the viewing, but it seems a good target to aim for. I will also try to put up some sketches, if and when they happen.

Link to comment

12 - VI :

Before the clouds rolled in had a very clear night from about 1.30am to about 4am, almost to magnitude 4. Had time to split Albireo which is such a beautiful sight and will need to be sketched in the future. I did a quick sketch of M13, played around with my nebula filter on M57 and then moved into Cygnus, one of my favourite constellations, so full of stars and bright colours.

M29 was easy to find and another night I will try to sketch her, but this evening I was heart bent on finding NGC 6826, if only to see what the filter would look like with her. Alas, I got lost. It's a shame really for I realise now I must have been only a whisker out, but on a plus side, I could have sworn I could see whisps of the milky way through the eyepiece and found a most beautiful three in a row star system. The first star, the larger of the three, was a pale blue, the second split into reddy-yellow star and whiter pale, and the last one remained a whitish pale colour. Have no idea what it was, but it made my evening. Finished with the moon and did a very rough sketch of three craters which I will look up tomorrow and see what was spotted.

All in all a great evening and next clear night will try again for the blinking planetary.

Link to comment

Oh, and before I forget, there was spotted the usual sporadic meteor hurtling across the mesophere but of more curious origin was a single, small point of white light flying relatively slowly in relation to the meteors. I followed it for a wee bit across Cygnus until it disappeared. I have no idea what was seen, but I imagine it was a plane.

Link to comment

Out of curiosity, what ep/diagonal combination are you most typically using for the Messiers? And is this different from what you use for splitting doubles?

I think Albireo is one of the most beautiful objects I have ever had the good fortune to see - the colours are stunning!

Look forward to your next post!

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Hiya Mark,

If a Messier is located and that's a big if, I have found that the sweet spot in the city is with a mag between 50x to less than 100x. Most of the doubles I'm coming across are split with the 25mm or 18mm. If I recall correctly, I think even Polaris was easy to split at 50x. The diagonal came with the Tal package. I don't know anything about it, but it works fine.

Link to comment

Nicely laid out plan you've got there, I hope I can have a go at some of these too.

I'll be interested to hear how you get on with Cats eye nebula in Draco.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Thanks for the support, chaps. I'm gradually working through the list and bit by bit (over the next few weeks) will post up some of the sketches and results.

Stuart, I figured that viewing from a city centre, using a 4" refractor in the middle of the summer does play significant odds against me, right? So, I don't understand the necessity of a rush with galaxies; what's the hurry with the likes of M81/82? They're around all year, so I might as well try for them come winter when the city skies are darker and city folk go to bed earlier.

Link to comment

Fair enough...but as a galaxy hunter I had to try...

Maybe NGC 6503 in Draco which is high at the moment????


  • Like 1
Link to comment

Thanks for the tip, Mark. I will certainly give it hunt and will let you know how I did.

Link to comment

If you're going for M10 and M12, why not M14 too? It's a magnitude fainter than M10 and M12, but half a magnitude brighter than M71.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Thanks, Cantab. Just back from time away, so this week will get back into practice and see if I can hunt down M 14.

Link to comment

Thanks, Midjam. Let me know how you do and please keep me informed of your own observations.

Link to comment

Excellent blog, as soon as those pesky clouds disperse I will be using your list for my spotting sessions. Thanks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Thanks, Ken. Let me know how you get along. I think I'll pop up on the roof tonight, the first time in over two weeks!

  • Like 2
Link to comment

Really enjoying reading your blog. I dont comment on them. But trust me a really enjoy the read :D

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.