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A Night to Remember


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What a night! Clear skies were forecast after yesterday's rain but the clouds took some time to clear and Saturn was gone behind the roof before they did. But getting up again after midnight and all was clear. Perhaps not as crystal clear to the south as Saturday night but I started with Sagittarius while I could. Some parts had set, either below the horizon proper or my 'horizon' of the garden wall. I had drawn up a longish list of targets in Sagittarius and elsewhere and managed to see many of them, some for the first time:

M23 is a fine open cluster with a jewel spread of stars and so is M25 - both looked good.

The M24 star cloud was not as clear as previously , and is very spread. I must try this again with binoculars.

M17, Swan Nebula, looked good with the 'tick' shaped brighter nebulosity strong and very much helped by the OIII filter. The less bright background nebulosity was less visible than previously.

The stars of the cluster of M16 in Serpens were clear but not the nebula like background. This was obviously becoming the pattern for the night in the south with a little haze affecting the visibility of nebulae.

M22 was good but also dimmer than on Saturday. This must be a truly superb sight under ideal conditions - say, the south of France!

Other Sagittarius and Scorpius objects were too low by this time so I started to look elsewhere.

M92 in Hercules was a absolute jewel against darker skies and this beautiful cluster looked its best in the 20mm eyepiece.

Planetary nebula NGC 6781benefitted from the OIII filter (rapidly becoming my favourite accessory!) - still small and fairly faint but a typical planetary and a first for me.

NGC 6934 in Delphinus was fairly small in the 38mm eyepiece that i use for general hunting but definitely benefitted from more magnification.

M72 in Aquarius eluded me - I must have been looking in the wrong place, or is it smaller than I expected? But the Saturn Nebula was a real surprise much brifghter than I expected - and yes, another first.

But by now I was ready for some perhaps more elusive stuff:

Galaxy 7331 in Pegasus was relatively bright and its side-on form evident - another first!

So I tried the Veil and there it was - both sections and another first. The OIII came into its own again with the Eastern Veil being brighter than the Western but both clear. A real thrill. Having bagged it I'm looking forward to better winter skies for an even better look.

By now I was up for it so why not try for Andromeda's elusive friend M110? And there she was - faint but clear . Yet another first and by now I was really elated - but tired. So a quick check on the eerie discs of Uranus and Neptune (I still love the planets) and time for bed.

A night to remember indeed with all those first timers.


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I got caught out by the weather last night. I hadn't expected it to be so clear but I think it turned out to be the best night of the summer in birmingham as the rain seemed to have cleared a lot of the murk from the sky so I had a great night too with a lot of firsts for me

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I knew it was forecast clear after midnight and was gutted when i looked out and the sky was crystal clear. Unfortunately with work today (and suppose be right now haha) i was never going to get out.

I have the same problem that i can't really see Sagittarius very well either. Do need to keep trying to tick off the objects down there though.

Great report :)

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That is a great report on a great night, though for me it was not as clear as 1 August.

I went out about 10.30pm on the off chance and was astonished that the cloud had dissipated so again I used the 120ED which is so quickly ready. I spent time on M31 and both M32 and M110 were clear to see. I was again surprised at how small and bright M32 is and at how much magnification is useful and I also picked up the Ghost of Mirach (NGC 404). This time I looked early for M81 and M82 before they had disappeared behind trees and followed with M101, M51, M63 and Cor Coroli though this was already looking misty. Then M13 on which I spent some time) and M92 followed by M57 before locating (with the help of an atlas) the tiny, feeble M56. M27 completed the evening as cloud was forming, it was feeling quite autumnal and I was getting cold in the wrong clothing, shorts.

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Great report! I wasn't going to observe until another week or so but popped out last night and the sky looked fantastic. I stuck to my old favourites and the highlight was probably the Veil with an OIII filter, best I've seen it in my 10 inch dob.

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Sounds like a successful night and a very good report. Unfortunately, I am much further north and with my horizon being even higher due to the garden fence (which does block the light from the streetlamp) Sagittarius is not really accessible for me :sad:

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Excellent report: I'm not surprised you were tired after all of that! Huge haul of goodies. I recently picked off Sagittarius and is very temperamental at this latitude. The was determined to get the star cloud, etc and so pleased to find them despite skies being hazy so low on the horizon.

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