By: "Tony Cecce, Corning, NY"

Twelve Month Tour of the Messier Catalog
August Messier Objects

This is the month that we begin to sneak into the summer Milky Way and the heart of our galaxy as we find 12 more object. Some are visible to the naked eye, all are possible in binoculars. There are six globular clusters, four open clusters, and two diffuse nebula. Many of these objects also appear to be in pairs, either in visual appearance or location.

[M10 Image]M10, [M12 Image] M12
This pair of globular clusters in the middle of Ophiuchus are easily swept up in binoculars looking like small blue snow balls. Through an 8" telescope M12 is well resolved while M10 is slightly more fuzzy looking. Both become very bright towards the center.

[M107 Image] M107 - A small, fairly faint globular cluster in Uphiuchus. It is a tough binocular object, appearing as a very small faint patch of light possibly requiring averted vision. In a telescope, M107 is a larger and brighter fuzzy patch of light than what can be seen in binoculars.

[M9 Image] M9 - Another small, relatively faint globular cluster in Ophiuchus. M9 is very similar to M107, only slightly brighter. Another tough, but possible binocular object.

[M19 Image] M19, [M62 Image] M62
Another pair of globular clusters in Ophiuchus separated by about four degrees. Fairly easy to find in binoculars, they are smaller than M10 and M12 thus not quite as obvious. These clusters are not resolvable through small scopes, and appear as round fuzzy patches brightening towards the center. M19 is slightly brighter than M62.

[M6 Image] M6, [M7 Image] M7
This is a pair of large, bright open clusters in Scorpius visible to the naked eye. Binoculars provide the best view of these clusters. Both are completely resolvable in 10x50 binoculars and can be fit into the same field of view. M7 is the larger and brighter of the pair.

[M8 Image] M8 - This is a bright emmission nebula in Sagittarius, easily visible to the naked eye. The common name of M8 is the Lagoon nebula. In binoculars M8 is an oval cloud of light larger than the full moon with several bright stars embedded within it. A telescope makes this nebula larger and brighter but does not really improve the view.

[M20 Image] M20 - Another diffuse nebula in Sagittarius only 1.4 degrees northwest of M8 and is called the Trifid nebula. This is easily seen in binoculars looking like a cloud of smoke around some bright stars. A view through a telescope appears much the same, although try to pick out the three dust lanes that gives M20 its name. This is a somewhat difficult object to see right away, at first glance it looks like the optics are in need of cleaning and are causing the light from the bright stars to "smear".

[M21 Image] M21 - This is a small, but bright open cluster in Saggitarius right next to M20. Binoculars show a very small bright patch partially resolvable. Small telescopes easily resolve all of the clusters members. M8, M20, and M21 are all within the same binocular field and lie in a very rich region of the Milky Way. This view is one of the finest to be found.

[M23 Image] M23 - The last object of the month is a large open cluster in Sagittarius. through binoculars M23 is a large, hazy patch of light almost the size of the full moon. A telescope at low powers easily resolves this cluster among a rich background of other stars.

Last Month - M3, M4, M5, M53, M68, M80, M83
Next Month - M13, M14, M22, M28, M54, M69, M70, M92
                                                A.J.Cecce, Rev. 7/95