|PATH:||The Astronomy Connection Observing Targets October Messier Tour|
By: "Tony Cecce, Corning, NY"
As summer turns to fall we complete our tour of the wonders in Sagittarius. Sixteen Messier objects are found within the constellation of Sagittarius, we will seek the six that remain to be seen on our tour. We will also search for three others just north of Sagittarius in the Milky Way.
Our October tour includes two nebulae and the clusters that power them, four open clusters, a star cloud, and lastly two globular clusters. All of these objects are possible in binoculars, most are easy in even small binoculars. Several of these are also possible naked eye objects.
This "object" is actually a section of the Milky Way in Sagittarius.
It is easily seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy, oval patch about four
times the size of the full moon. The best views are through binoculars
or rich field telescopes.
Just east of M24 in Sagittarius we find this open cluster. Visible
to the naked eye, M25 lies in the same binocular field as M24. In
binoculars it appears as a partially resolved star cluster buried in
faint nebulosity. A view through a telescope shows the nebulosity is in
fact many faint stars that are not resolved in small instruments.
This is a small open cluster just north of M24 in Sagittarius. In
binoculars M18 is easy to see as a small fuzzy patch of light in the same
field of view as M24. Telescopes reveal this cluster for what it is, a
small, sparse collection of fairly bright stars.
Just north of M18 and in the same binocular field as M24 and M18
lies the Omega nebula. Possible to see with the naked eye and easy with
binoculars, this nebula appears as a small faint patch of fuzz. A
telescope will show the unique V shape nebulosity that gives the cluster
its name. The shape reminds me of a swan with two bright stars that power
the cluster embedded in the head and neck of the swan.
Continuing north of M17 we find another nebula in Serpens. To
the naked eye and binoculars, this small patch of haze is very similar
in appearance to M17 which is in the same binocular field of view.
Through a telescope the M16 looks like a sparse open cluster of stars
surrounded by faint wisps of smoke.
Continuing to head north through the Milky Way we find this
open cluster in the constellation Scutum. This is a difficult object
to find in binoculars, but possible as a faint patch of fuzz. Telescopes
partially resolve this cluster and show several stars buried in a faint
glow from the unresolved stars.
Just north of M26 in Scutum lies the Wild Duck Cluster. Possible
to see with the naked eye, binoculars show a small faint patch surrounding
a bright star. Telescopes resolve many of the stars in this very rich
Dipping back into Sagittarius we find two more globular clusters
waiting for us. The first is one of the brightest and largest globulars
in the catalogue. Possible to see naked eye, it is an easy binocular
object appearing as a bright fuzzy ball of light. Telescopes show a
round patch of light bright in the center and fading toward the edges.
Large aperatures are needed to resolve this globular.
The last object of the month, and the last object to be visited
in Sagittarius. In binoculars, M75 is not too hard to see, look for a
small fuzzy star. A telescope will show a small fuzz ball with a bright
Last Month - M13, M14, M22, M28, M54, M69, M70, M92 Next Month - M27, M30, M71, M72, M73, M56, M57 Revision 9/95, A.J. Cecce