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You look to the South on a crystal clear night and spot Scorpius and Sagittarius gleaming above the horizon. Probably some of the best observable night sky objects are within these fine constellations. My 4.5 inch reflector was ready to go at 12 AM on Sunday morning, I aligned the stars Altair and Dubhe in the two star alignment feature on its GoTo mount . I was thinking of either imaging Saturn and Jupiter. But I chose to observe some of the dazzling and interesting objects in Sagittarius. I slewed my telescope to M25 first. a beautiful open cluster in the top part of Sagittarius' border. My next target was the fantastic Sagittarius Star Cloud or M24, an object I have been longing to see! All the objects had a dusty glow to them and since it was in the top part of the constellations boundary. Atmospheric haze did not affect it, after that. I decided to check out the stars that make the "Teapot" asterism in Sagittarius. I went through all that I could see from Ireland. I could see all the stars other than Kaus Australis . Following my adventure in Sagittarius I decided to move my way up the Milky Way into Scutum the shield. I observed the famous Wild Duck cluster in my highest magnification and what a sight it was! But, as I was browsing Stellarium for other interesting objects in Scutum I found something cool indeed. What was it? It was the asteroid Juno! Juno was and is currently magnitude +9.9 near the Wild Duck cluster. I star hopped my way using Stellarium as a map. And I found it within a few minutes. It may not of looked the part but hey, in astronomy one of the main things you must understand. It's not about what it looks like, it's what it represents. With that I decided it was time to go in as it was 1:30AM. Thank you for reading! Clear skies to all Adam
My attempt at the Scutum Star Cloud. It was a difficult target as my garden has a 6 foot brick wall to the south which my camera FoV was barely peeking above (the wall was in part of the frame at the beginning until the area of sky reached the meridian). The wall caused some indirect reflection resulting in the purple haze at the bottom of the image. Given the circumstances I'm happy with the result. My first image since April, a refreshing feeling and I'm re-energised for some great August viewing/snapping Canon 1000d (modded), CLS filter clip 70-300mm sigma lens @ 70mm 13x 6 minute exposures darks taken on the fly captured, processes in images plus software. quick crop in PS bolted to EQ6 & Ed80 for tracking /guiding Thanks for looking
At last, my first prolonged telescope session of the new season and worth waiting for. With a waning half Moon not affecting the sky until close to midnight, I had over 2 1/2 hours to catch some late summer treats. First up, M11. Something I have only ever viewed with binoculars before. What a difference a scope makes. Dominated by the 8th magnitude star near the centre, the majority of the cluster fanned out to the North, with another pair of 9th magnitude stars of to the Southwest to counterbalance. Within the fan shape appeared a darker rift dividing up the denser areas. Superb! Happy with a prolonged revisit to one of the skies top 20, I moved on to finding some new things. The first of these was NGC 7331 (Caldwell 30) in Pegasus, a galaxy I have failed to find on a number of occasions. With perseverance, I cracked it. With an elongated bright core, it was surrounded by a soft halo best picked up in the 15mm eyepiece. Buoyed by this success, I moved onto another previous failure. The small planetary nebula NGC 6572 in Ophiuchus was also difficult to locate by repeating my star hop I managed to see it. Small it may be but it is also bright and I thought I could pick up a hint of green. I then moved across to Scutum to find the globular cluster NGC 6712, which was easy with averted vision and mid-sized compared to others. The only failure of the night was the Aquila open cluster NGC 6738. I think I was in the right area but cannot be sure and certainly could see anything. I then moved back to planetary nebula to seek out NGC 6818, the Little Gem in Sagittarius. This appeared condensed and possibly rectangular and was reasonably easy to see given its limited elevation. Moving East and far superior to observe was NGC 7009 (Caldwell 55), the Saturn nebula. A lovely object. At 126x magnification, I could make out some hint of colour in the bright lemon-shaped nebula. From there I moved on to nearby M73 but could only make out a handful of stars at 40x magnification. M72 was no better. A soft glowing mid-sized globular which I struggled to view with averted vision. NGC 752 (Caldwell 28) in Andromeda was much more enjoyable however. The large cluster is punctuated with a nice orangey pair of stars (class K and M) to the Southwest. I moved to the North-eastern sky to observe another classic I had not seen before. Kemble’s cascade leads to NGC 1502 which had ten to twelve individual stars I could make out. I finished the session by finding the Pegasus galaxy NGC 7217, just before the Moon started to interfere too much. It appeared like a soft oval haze. A total of two new Messiers, three new Caldwells and seven to my Herschel total. I'm happy with that. __________________________________________________ ______ Observing Session: Friday 7th September 2012, 21:05 hrs to 23:45 hrs BST VLM at Zenith: 5.1 New - Revisited - Failed
The wonders of the constellation Scutum are a multitude. A wealth of bright and dark nebulae populate this area as well as the star clouds that looms large in this close up image. Once again, an image taken with film. My choice of Fuji Superia 100 color negative provides much sharper stars than transparency films and also offers a wider latitude in exposure. Film's dynamic range brings out the faint details as well as keeping the brighter portions tamed in this single 40 minute exposure. The Pentax 67 with the 165 f/2.8 portrait lens set at f/4 provided the means of capture. Thanks for looking. I hope you enjoy. Join me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nightflyastro
Another analog image for your consideration. Taken July 19th under skies of good transparency from 22:13 - 23:23 Local time. Single exposure of 70 minutes on Fuji Acros 100 film using the Pentax 67 and SMC 200mm @ f/5.6. The dense star fields of Scutum.