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Winter Night Sights


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Hi my fellow stargazers! Ok, I know it's summer for you northern hemisphere observers, but for us in the southern hemisphere we are in the middle of winter! Below is an observational report from last night, I hope it will be of interest to those in the northern hemisphere to give you a perspective of some of the southern sky objects visible at this time. Some should be visible from the UK. All observations carried out using my 10 inch dobsonian. Ok enough rambling from me and onto the report..

ARA

NGC 6397: This is one of the closest globular clusters to us. Nicely resolved, hazy core surrounded by a ring of brighter stars. This is a unique feature of this globular.

IC 4651: Large, scattered open cluster. I love how it glitters at low power (70x)

NGC 6193 and NGC 6188: This object is a combination of open cluster (6193) and nebula (6188). Beautiful pair! NGC 6193 has a nice double star at its centre, HR 6187. The nebula NGC 6188 is large, detected it as a brightening of the background sky. This would look more awesome from darker skies than my bortle 6 backyard. Still a nice sight!

SCORPIUS

M 7: This is a stunning open cluster, one of the best in the sky. At 80x it is ablaze with brilliant blue stars! 

M 6: Butterfly cluster. Another beauty, does bear a striking resemblance to a butterfly!

NGC 6441: This is a gorgeous sight. Tiny but bright globular cluster tucked close to a bright yellow star (HR 6630).

OPHIUCHUS

M 10 and M 12: Fantastic pair of globular clusters, M 10 the brighter of the two. M 12 showed an irregular shape.

NGC 6572: The Blue Racquetball Nebula. Stunning high surface brightness planetary nebula. Featureless at higher magnification but exhibiting a green colour to my eye! 

M 62: Large, bright and well resolved globular cluster. I love this glob, lingered on it for 20 min trying out different magnifications on it.

Comet C/2017 PANSTARRS: This bright comet is currently in Ophiuchus. I made out it's coma, with a hint of a tail at 171x.

SAGITTARIUS

NGC 6522 and NGC 6528: A magnificent pair of globulars, in the same field of view at 70x. The background is stunning here, countless stars towards the centre of our home galaxy creating a mottled effect!

NGC 6563: A new to me planetary nebula. Saw it for the first time last night, it looks like a faint puff of diffuse light. Completely different to the Blue Racquetball that I observed earlier. This just shows that there are no two objects that look the same in the night sky. Every DSO is unique.

I still had so much more I wanted to see but had to call it a night due to work. Really fantastic session for me. Until next time, wishing you clear skies and keep looking up!

 

Joe

 

 

 

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Fantastic report Joe. It has been ages since I have done any proper observing due to lack of astronomical darkness here, and you have reminded what the night sky with a telescope looks like.

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Thanks Kostas. Glad that I can give you a bit of Astro to tide you through! At least the days are starting to get shorter for you now that we are past the solstice 😊

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