Thursday, July 3, 2003

NGCs in 10x50 binos from Montebello

I wanted to get out, since the sky looked so good, but I did not want to take my 18" scope, and my 10" is loaned out. So, I threw my binocular mount, Adlerblick 10x50's and Tirion Skyatlas 2000 into the car and headed for Montebello. Pulling into the lot I was surprised at the number of people that were there... only few posted their intentions to go. It was a nice friendly group.

I hadn't use the bino mount for about a year, and really had not ever used it to do any "serious" observing. I began on the Messiers, which I found generally easy to pick off. I recall M22, M4, M28, M54, M55, M75, M29, M52, M27, M70, M81/M82, M51, M16, M17 and others. The Sagittarius Star Cloud was absolutely stunning.

The Wild Duck (M11) was obvious, and so was M26, but there was a third smudge. Turned out to be NGC 6712, an elongated looking globular cluster of 7.2 arc-minutes and visual mag 8.2. I thought it was pretty neat, and decided to see which globulars on the Tirion SA 2000 I could find with binoculars.

They included NGC 6569 at 5.8 arc-minutes and mag 8.7. Of the two NGC globulars above the tip of the Teapot's spout, I could identify NGC 6522, but NGC 6528 eluded me.

This seemed like great fun to me, as I felt as if I were trying to id dim galaxies, and used the same techniques.

I kept at it until about 1 a.m., picking up other globs - NGC 6624 (5.9' & 8.1m), NGC 6652 (3.5' & 8.9m) and NGC 6638, which was fairly tough (5' & 9.2m). The most difficult were NGC 6642 (4.5' & 9.4) above M22, NGC 6717 (7' & 9.2m).

Observing all these NGCs in binoculars surprised me.

I most enjoyed two particular views - M7 is just such an amazingly large open cluster, binocs really do it justice. The hands down most beautiful view the entire night in the binocs was NGC 6231 and the entire area around it.

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