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Sagittarius surprise 18 July

Special K

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Nice tidy little session last night at the spur of the moment! :

I was going to hit the hay at midnight but had a look out and could see it was very transparent. Antares was obvious on the Southern horizon though very close to the moon. I’ve been really eager to get in amongst the Sagittarius treasures but in my skies I haven’t even been able to see the brightest stars of the constellation. However, last night Nunki was very apparent and from there I could find my way to Lambda and Mu. I could only see Mu with the small bins, and actually was able to use them in concert with the red dot finder (which shows as a blur in the bins) to hit Mu. Anybody else ever try this?! I was surprised how well it worked!!! Then on to the M24 Star Cloud as easy as pie! This was a nice feature at 26x as it is such a widely spaced object. I’ve wanted to spot this guy for months and finally bagged it!

Having my bearings fixed, it was then easy to increase DEC to find the M18 cluster which was very obvious. The moon was something like 70% last night and in the vicinity so it was causing some interference. Then from M18 to M17 The Omega (or Swan?) Nebula. The central barrel of this was immediately visible despite the moon. I travelled further up and also landed on M16 The Eagle Nebula, though I couldn’t make out anything more than the cluster. Given a darker sky I’m sure this would have been apparent and I didn’t bother with the UHC. The area is so rich and I’m really pleased to have finally made it there! At this latitude, it isn’t easy.

Nice to get in some quality observations as it has been a while for me. The short nights have meant I can’t get out as much as you have to be there at 1am for maximum effect! The flip side is it is so warm! I’ve kept up with my naked eye obs, as I’m pretty much programmed to look out at night time regardless of the occasion and am thinking about some 15x50 bins and a deck chair for these warm nights.

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It's a glorious area - shame it's so low and gone all to quickly before summer ends. You can easily get lost in it's star fields - thanks for the report. Have you seen M80 just above Antares? That's a nice target also.


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I haven't even tried that part of the sky; it lurks under the London murk. I suppose you'd have a similar problem in St Albans. When the moon's gone I might chance it if we get more of these really good clear nights. I finally managed to spot M11 last night, another DSO to underwhelm my wife with. It was fairly sparkling with a bit of magnification, very nice in a small scope... Tonight I'm going to attempt to find one of my all time favourites, the Andromeda Galaxy.


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