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Friday, August 13th, 2004
What a wonderful conclusion to the summer dark sky viewing. My brother and daughter and I went up to a nice spot where there is just about 360 degree horizon. Unfortuneately, there was a great deal of moisture in thhe sky so the glow and haze was worse than I was hoping for this final sumer dark sky night.

Though the light pollution and clarity were not ideal, I managed to get my last 4 summer objects in Sagitarius and Ophiuchus.

Ophiuchus
M9 - Globular Cluster
Larger and more distinct stars than M19, this cluster required the 9mm eyepiece. It resolved a neucleus and a dozen outer stars for me on this night. Small, but very nice.

M19 - Globular Cluster
This object is very faint in the horizon as the summer is coming to an end. I found it in the 32mm, but it really took the 9 to begin to see the neucleus and any detail.

M107 - Globular Cluster
On this night, this globular is nearly invisible in my 32mm. Well, actually, it's prett dang invisible in general. I never got a good view of it. Simply too much light pollution. I tried a variety of eyepieces to distinguish any individual stars, but to no avail. It never became more than a faint fuzzy. Probably not too terribly different than Messier saw it.

Sagitarius
M75 - Globular Cluster
Wow, this was a tough find. Though I've gone after it many times, I have not successfully found it in the past because there are really no pointer stars to it that you can see from around here, and tonight is no exception. But I excercised the patience to star hop field by field to it. I found it! Very very small, Nearly all neucleus, I can definitely see why this one could be mistaken for a comet.


Later in the evening (around 2 am) Auriga rose. There are a few objects in Auriga that I need that are still on my Messier list so I thought I'd catch them while I was here.

Auriga
M36 - "Salt and Pepper Cluster" - Open Cluster
This cluster was much smaller than M38, and boasted far fewer stars. I was able to make out the pinwheel pattern at a bit higher resolution (97x). I was looking at it quite low on the horizon. Perhaps when it's higher in the sky I'll get a better look at it.

M37 - Open Cluster
Similar to M38, though it's hard to say which one had more brighter stars. They are both small in comparison to say, M39, and are more like a globular cluster except without a neucleus.

M38 - Open Cluster
A relatively large open cluster, though not very bright. A few dozon stars I suppose, but boy, this is not a significant cluster. It reminds me of some of the smaller, dimmer OCL objects I've seen.

Cepheus
NGC 6946 (Spiral Galaxy) & NGC 6939 (Open Cluster)
This group intrigues me because I can't see NGC 6946 from my backyard. It happens to be one that I have tried to find many times, but simply can't see it. In my 12" scope with the 32mm 2" wide field eyepiece, I can get both objects in the same view. But only in a pretty dark sky. It seems like in a very very dark sky like Indian Trail Spring, I may be able to see the arms on the galaxy.


All in all, it was a decent night. A trip an hour away from my house to a relatively dark spot with good horizon to catch my last summer Messiers.





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