OR: Dinosaur Point, 11/14

After a short (55 minutes) and pleasant drive, I arrived at Dinosaur Point early (around 4pm) because of the new access rules, and to have plenty of time to setup my equipment. Albert Highe, George Feliz and Peter Natscher arrived shortly after and setup right next to me. Dave Cooper, Jamie Dillon, Bob Jardine and Al Howard were a little further down the parking lot. What a great team of observers! (ok, Al doesn’t really count as an observer, but he’s cool nonetheless)

The wind was non-existant. The temperature dropped from the low 60s to the mid to low 40s, which is not a huge difference. This always helps with the seeing, especially in large newtonians. The transparency was about average until about 9pm, when it got slightly better. At 9:30pm, I did a NELM test in Triangulum and obtained 6.3, which is pretty good for the site.

Since I don’t have a whole lot of Herschel 400 targets left around this time of the year, I decided to observe mostly Herschel II objects, and finished the night with a couple of galaxy groups from Alvin Huey’s “Selected small galaxy groups” observing guide. Among the highlights of the night, we observed NGC 891 and M 33 through Peter’s 24″ Starmaster telescope. The views were absolutely breathtaking! We also looked at the hydrogen filaments inside M 1, which we also detected through George’s 13″ scope, and to a lesser extent in my own 12″ scope.

Overall, I was very pleased with the evening, and it reminded me of why I like Dinosaur Point so much: short easy drive, fairly good skies, setup on a paved parking lot, in bed by 2am after 6+ hours of observing! Below is my log for the night. Cheers!

Location: Dinosaur Point [Elevation 648 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PST)

NGC 7184 GX Aqr 22h03m13.7s -20°45’54″ 11.7 mag 06:20pm
Moderately faint slightly elongated core, stellar nucleus, very faint halo elongated 3×1 ENE-WSW. Very faint superimposed star about 1′ ENE of nucleus. Fairly bright star at the ENE end of the halo.

NGC 7218 GX Aqr 22h10m45.0s -16°36’39″ 12.4 mag 06:40pm
2′x1′ elongated NNE-SSW. Gradually brighter toward a moderately faint core. Moderately bright superimposed stars 1′ E and 1′ NNE. Best seen at 217x.

NGC 7171 GX Aqr 22h01m35.0s -13°13’17″ 13.1 mag 06:50pm
Moderately large, very low surface brightness, only very slightly brighter in the core. Elongated 3:2 NW-SE. Extremely faint superimposed star 1′ E.

NGC 7377 GX Aqr 22h48m20.9s -22°15’31″ 12.1 mag 07:10pm
Small (about 1′ in diameter), round and fairly bright. Stellar nucleus. A small grouping of 5 fairly bright stars is located just SW of this galaxy.

NGC 7392 GX Aqr 22h52m21.9s -20°33’18″ 12.6 mag 07:20pm
2′x1′ elongated WNW-ESE. Stellar nucleus embedded inside a fairly bright small core.

NGC 7600 GX Aqr 23h19m26.0s -07°31’25″ 12.9 mag 07:35pm
1.5′x1′ elongated ENE-WSW. Moderately faint stellar nucleus.

NGC 7156 GX Peg 21h55m04.6s +02°59’32″ 13.3 mag 08:00pm
Small (about 1′ in diameter), round, dim, fairly uniform, only slightly brighter core.

NGC 7177 GX Peg 22h01m10.3s +17°47’23″ 11.9 mag 08:10pm
Round bright core, about 1′ in diameter, surrounded by a faint halo 2.5′x1.5′ elongated E-W. Stellar nucleus. Best seen at 217x.

NGC 7332 GX Peg 22h37m54.1s +23°51’14″ 12.0 mag 08:25pm
Very bright stellar nucleus embedded inside a bright compact core. Moderately faint halo roughly 2.5′x45″ elongated NNW-SSE. Forms a beautiful pair with NGC 7339 at 217x.

NGC 7742 GX Peg 23h44m47.4s +10°49’32″ 12.3 mag 08:50pm
Small (about 1′ in diameter), round, fairly bright, gradually brighter to a stellar nucleus. Mag 12.7 star just 1.5′ ESE.

NGC 23 GX Peg 00h10m25.7s +25°59’00″ 12.8 mag 09:05pm
Small (< 1') round faint halo, fairly bright almost stellar core. A fairly bright star is at the SSW end. Forms a nice pair with dimmer NGC 26.

NGC 604 BN Tri 01h35m11.7s +30°50’17″ mag 09:25pm
This nebula physically belongs to M33. Seen easily in a 12″ scope as a bright round patch about 1′ in size. In Peter Natscher’s 24″ scope, its shape appears slightly irregular.

NGC 598 (M 33) GX Tri 01h34m26.5s +30°42’53″ 6.4 mag 09:25pm
Barely detected naked eye. Easily seen in 9×50 finder scope, including the broad S-shaped spiral structure. Elongated 3:2 NNE-SSW. Large bright round core. Appears amazing in a 12″ scope, with lots of fine details easily visible in the spiral arms. Absolutely dazzling though Peter Natscher’s 24″ scope! Several NGC objects physically belong to M33: NGC 604, NGC 595, NGC 592 and NGC 588. All were seen very easily in a 12″ scope.

NGC 7640 GX And 23h22m36.4s +40°54’19″ 11.6 mag 09:40pm
6′x1.5′ elongated NNW-SSE. Moderately faint halo with a slightly brighter core. Slight impression of mottling. Fairly bright superimposed star just SE of the core. 2 superimposed stars in the halo N of the core.

NGC 206 BN And 00h41m04.3s +40°47’34″ mag 09:45pm
Star cloud that physically belongs to M31. Located about 40′ SW of M31′s core. Roughly 5′x2′ elongated N-S. Fairly faint.

NGC 214 GX And 00h42m01.3s +25°33’29″ 12.9 mag 10:00pm
Fairly small (1.5′x1′), elongated ENE-WSW, moderately faint, pretty uniform, slightly brighter core. Barely detected stellar nucleus.

NGC 1068 (M 77) GX Cet 02h43m13.3s +00°01’54″ 9.7 mag 10:20pm
Roughly circular, moderately faint halo, about 2′ in diameter, very slightly elongated N-S. Bright slightly S-shaped core elongated 3:2 NE-SW containing a very bright stellar nucleus. Some mottling visible (hints of broader spiral arms emanating from the core)

NGC 672 GX Tri 01h48m30.0s +27°29’11″ 11.4 mag 10:50pm
5′x2′ elongated ENE-WSW, pretty uniform, moderately bright. Forms a nice pair with much dimmer galaxy IC 1727 located about 8′ SW.

NGC 925 GX Tri 02h27m54.9s +33°37’36″ 10.6 mag 11:10pm
4′x2′ elongated WNW-ESE. Moderately faint, pretty uniform, slightly brighter core. Many fairly bright field stars enhance the view.

NGC 890 GX Tri 02h22m38.8s +33°18’53″ 12.8 mag 11:15pm
Small (about 1.5′x45″) elongated NE-SW. Fairly bright, gradually brighter to an almost stellar nucleus.

NGC 68 group
Pretty compact. A few field stars distract the observer, making the 3 galaxies in the center harder to spot.
NGC 68
NGC 69 (very faint)
NGC 70
NGC 71
NGC 72
NGC 72A (very faint)
NGC 74 (very faint)

NGC 383 group
Fairly bright members, loose group.
NGC 373 (faint)
NGC 375 (faint)
NGC 379
NGC 380
NGC 382
NGC 383
NGC 384
NGC 385
NGC 386 (faint)
NGC 387 (very faint)
NGC 388

Entering the World of Amateur Telescope Making

For the past few weeks, I’ve been designing my next telescope, an Albert Highe inspired 16″ dobsonian. The decision to build my own telescope stemmed from the fact that I knew exactly what I wanted, and I could not get it from any of the well known US telescope manufacturers. In addition, I wanted to learn new skills, including computer assisted design and woodworking. The image to the left is the latest rendering of the optical tube assembly as I envisioned it (click for a higher resolution image). Below are my original specifications:

  • The mirror box and rocker box must fit together within 24″ x 24″ x 18″, so that it fits in my car.
  • The eyepiece height cannot exceed 64″, so that I don’t have to use a step stool or a ladder.
  • The weight of the heaviest component cannot exceed 40 lbs, so that I can easily lift it.
  • Overall cost must not exceed $5,000.

I opted for a 16″ F/4 mirror, which should fit my goals. In the next few months, I will be posting photographs as I build and assemble the various parts that make up the telescope. Stay tuned!

OR: Deep Sky Ranch, 10/16/09: Tarentulas and Galaxy Clusters

I had originally planned to go to the DARC observatory on Saturday night. However, due to a dismal weather forecast, I was forced to rethink my plans. The forecast for Friday night was actually looking pretty good, and an opportunity came up to go to Willow Springs. I had never been up there before, so I jumped at the opportunity, packed my gear in a hurry, and headed down to Deep Sky Ranch.

While driving on Little Panoche Rd, something interesting caught my eye: a tarantula was slowly crossing the roadway. On the way back this morning, I pulled over to take this photograph:

Willow Springs is a great place for deep sky visual observing. The sky is fairly dark, and the only really noticeable light dome, emanating from Hollister, is not much of a problem. Here is a summary of last night’s weather conditions:

  • No wind.
  • Temperatures in the low 50s.
  • Average seeing.
  • Average transparency.
  • Very high humidity: my table top and paper charts were soaked, and my eyepieces were covered in dew.

Were present Steve Gottlieb, Mark Wagner, Mark Johnston, Rogelio Bernal Andreo, Richard Navarette and of course our gracious host, Kevin Ritschel. Here is a photo of famous DobZilla, Kevin’s 30″ dobsonian telescope:

Since I am almost done with the Herschel 400 list, I had decided to start a new project: observing the galaxy groups featured in one of Alvin Huey’s free downloadable observing guides: Selected Small Galaxy Groups. These galaxy groups are fascinating because they are a real test of the observer’s visual acuity and equipment. Although the brightest members are usually immediately detected, these groups reward patient observers. The more time is spent at the eyepiece, the greater the number of galaxies that become visible! This way, I was able to detect a good number of members after spending about 30 minutes on a given group. I did not take detailed notes of my observations this time around, but I did write down the list of members I was positively able to detect. All observations were done using my Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5 dobsonian telescope, and using mostly my 9mm Televue Nagler type 6.

NGC 383 Group (also known as the Pisces Group)
NGC 373/NGC 375/NGC 379/NGC 380/NGC 382/NGC 383/NGC 384/NGC 385/NGC 386/NGC 387 (hard!)/NGC 388

NGC 3 Group (Pisces)
NGC 3/NGC 4 (hard!)/NGC 7837/NGC 7838

NGC 507 Group (Pisces)
NGC 494/NGC 495/NGC 496/NGC 499/NGC 501/NGC 503/NGC 504/NGC 507/NGC 508/NGC 515/NGC 517/IC 1682/IC 1687/IC 1689/IC 1690

NGC 80 Group (Andromeda) - Featured in the current edition of S&T’s “Going Deep” column.
NGC 79/NGC 80/NGC 81 (hard!)/NGC 83/MGC 4-2-10 (PGC 1384, and also sometimes incorrectly labeled NGC 84) (hard!)/NGC 85/NGC 86/NGC 90/NGC 93/NGC 94/NGC 96
I also observed this group through Mark Johnston 18″ scope, and confirmed seeing some of the dimmest members.

Perseus Cluster
NGC 1129/NGC 1130/NGC 1131/IC 265/MCG 7-7-3 (PGC 10953)/MCG 7-7-8 (PGC 10980)

Big thanks to Kevin Ritschel for hosting this star party and for sharing stunning views through DobZilla. Also, big thanks to Alvin Huey for putting together the observing guides and making them freely downloadable on his web site.

OR: Henry Coe State Park, 10/10

Mark Johnston, Peter Krottje and I met at the overflow parking lot at Henry Coe state park last night. I brought my Meade Lightbridge 12″ (after flocking the inside of the UTA with black velvet ordered from Edmund Optics), while Mark brought both his 18″ Starmaster dobsonian as well as a newly acquired equatorially mounted 190mm Orion Mak-Newt. Peter was using his homemade 10″ ultra light dobsonian.

The sky grew darker as the evening went on thanks to the fog dimming the lights emanating from San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy. By 11pm, we were getting SQM readings of almost 21.2, which is pretty good for Henry Coe. The transparency however was clearly below average, and the low level haze was causing some obvious dimming up to 15 degrees of elevation, especially to the south and the west. The sky was however more than decent between the north east and the south east, which is where I spent most of the night, observing mostly open clusters in Andromeda, Lacerta and Cassiopeia.

Here’s a summary of the weather conditions:

  • Average seeing.
  • Mild (but annoying) westerly wind.
  • Surprisingly cold (I had to really bundle up, and almost needed gloves by 11pm)

Here are some of the highlights of the evening:

  • 18 open clusters from the Herschel 400 list. Most of them were honestly not very interesting, except maybe the ET cluster, and a couple of clusters in Cassiopeia that happened to fit within the same FOV of my Pan 27, showing some differences in structure.
  • We observed the California nebula with my 50mm finder scope using a 16mm Nagler type 5 and a UHC filter. We got a much better view through Mark’s 190mm Orion Mak-Newt using a wide field eyepiece and an H-beta filter.
  • We saw the fourth flea around NGC 7331 through Mark’s 18″ scope, and I later caught a glimpse of it in my 12″ scope, although it was coming in and out of view (knowing where to look really helps!)
  • The GRS was transiting. A darker slightly elongated region was spotted right next to it. Probably some disturbance in the equatorial band.
  • There was a nice shadow transit by Io on Jupiter.

It was my first night using the Orion self-centering adapter (instead of a standard 1 1/4″ adapter with a tightening ring) and I have to say that I really liked it! I’m sure it will be very handy this winter when switching eyepieces while wearing gloves.

I took off around midnight, and was soundly asleep by 1am. Overall, it was a good night, and I’m glad I went out. I’m looking forward to observing under darker skies next weekend to start on the Herschel II list, since I’m running out of Herschel I objects. Below is my log for the night. Cheers!

Location: Henry Coe state park [Elevation 2600 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 7296 OC Lac 22h28m27.3s +52°22’19″ 9.7 mag 08:00pm
About 30 stars, a dozen of which are fairly bright, grouped within an area roughly 4′ in diameter. Relatively inconspicuous, best seen at 217x.

NGC 7243 OC Lac 22h15m32.9s +49°57’09″ 6.7 mag 08:05pm
About 80 stars, 20 of which are pretty bright, within an area 25′ x 15′ elongated NE-SW. The center region, delimited to the west by a nice double star, is very sparsely populated.

NGC 7209 OC Lac 22h05m32.1s +46°32’11″ 7.8 mag 08:10pm
About 80 stars, 40 of which are uniformly pretty bright, within an area 20′ x 15′ elongated NNE-SSW. Moderately bright and slightly orange star near the center. Bright yellow star (HT Lac, mag 6.2) about 15′ N.

NGC 7686 OC And 23h30m37.3s +49°11’31″ 5.6 mag 08:15pm
About 30 moderately faint to moderately bright stars grouped within an area 15′ in diameter centered on a bright yellow-orange star (HD 221246, mag 6.2)

NGC 7789 OC Cas 23h57m56.4s +56°46’02″ 7.5 mag 08:50pm
Very rich and fairly compact. Very large number of moderately faint stars of comparable brightness scattered pretty uniformly within a roughly circular area 15′ in diameter.

NGC 7790 OC Cas 23h58m56.7s +61°16’01″ 7.2 mag 09:00pm
About 20 moderately faint stars within an area roughly 5′ x 3′ elongated E-W. The proximity of numerous star clusters in the vicinity (esp. NGC 7788) makes this cluster interesting to track down.

NGC 129 OC Cas 00h30m36.0s +60°16’34″ 9.8 mag 09:10pm
Located 15′ NNW of a bright star (HD 2626, mag 5.9) This cluster contains a good number of moderately bright to fairly bright stars. It is not very well delimited, especially to the north, making star counts unreliable. A few fairly bright stars form a ring elongated 3:2 NW-SE.

NGC 136 OC Cas 00h32m07.4s +61°34’04″ mag 09:20pm
Maybe a dozen faint stars grouped within an area 1.5′ in diameter. About 6′ NE of a fairly bright yellowish star (SAO 11238, mag 8.4) This cluster is so inconspicuous that a good atlas is a must to confirm that you’re indeed looking at the right spot.

NGC 381 OC Cas 01h08m59.4s +61°38’19″ 9.3 mag 09:30pm
Fairly sparse cluster containing about 30 moderately faint to moderately bright stars within an area roughly 6′ in diameter. Best seen at 169x.

NGC 225 (Sailboat Cluster) OC Cas 00h44m16.8s +61°49’55″ 8.9 mag 09:35pm
About 30 bright stars within an area 12′ x 8′ elongated NE-SW. Requires some imagination to see the outline of a sailboat…

NGC 457 (ET Cluster) OC Cas 01h20m15.4s +58°20’27″ 5.1 mag 09:40pm
Two bright stars (mag 5 and 7, the one to the NE being the brighter), located at the western end of the cluster, about 3′ apart, form the eyes of the ET cluster. A narrow group of stars, elongated NW-SE, form the body, and a few more bright stars form the arms.

NGC 559 OC Cas 01h30m14.5s +63°21’35″ 7.4 mag 10:25pm
About 30 fairly faint stars within an area roughly 5′ in diameter. Best seen at 169x.

NGC 436 OC Cas 01h16m38.2s +58°51’58″ 9.3 mag 10:25pm
Fairly compact cluster containing about 25 moderately bright to moderately faint stars within an area 5′ in diameter. Best seen at 169x.

NGC 637 OC Cas 01h43m49.4s +64°05’29″ 7.3 mag 10:35pm
Small, compact group of about 20 stars, 5 of which are fairly bright, the others are fairly faint, within an area roughly 3′ in diameter elongated NE-SW. Best seen at 217x.

NGC 654 OC Cas 01h44m44.2s +61°56’11″ 8.2 mag 10:40pm
About 40 moderately faint stars within 5′. Best seen at 169x. Located 3′ NNW of a bright yellow-orange star (HD 10494, mag 7.3) Fits with NGC 663 in the same field of view of my Panoptic 27mm eyepiece, showing some nice difference in structure.

NGC 663 OC Cas 01h46m53.1s +61°17’10″ 6.4 mag 10:40pm
About 80 fairly bright stars within an area 15′ x 10′ elongated NW-SE. Fits with NGC 654 in the same field of view of my Panoptic 27mm eyepiece, showing some nice difference in structure.

NGC 659 OC Cas 01h45m07.6s +60°43’29″ 7.2 mag 10:45pm
About 15 moderately faint stars within an area 4′ in diameter. Best seen at 169x. Located about 15′ NE of a trio of bright stars.

NGC 752 OC And 01h58m18.5s +37°50’08″ 6.6 mag 10:50pm
Seen with the naked eye as a fuzzy spot between Tri and And. Best seen using the 50mm finder scope using a 16mm Nagler type 5 eyepiece. In my 12″ scope, using a Panoptic 27mm eyepiece, more than 100 bright stars are visible. Two bright yellowish stars were seen near the south-western boundary (56 And and HD 11727, mag 5.7 and 5.9 respectively)


I was only able to attend the first two nights of CalStar, an annual Star Party that takes place at Lake San Antonio in California. The first night (Thu, Sep 17), the transparency was mediocre (when I called it a night, around 2am, Jupiter was surrounded by a bright halo…). Therefore, I used that first night to focus on bright easy objects. The second night (Fri, Sep 18) was much better with an NELM of 6.7 in UMi. Seeing on both nights was about average. However, the high temperatures during the day caused my (thick) mirror to take many hours to cool down, even with the fan on (and I made the mistake of keeping the shroud on…)

Among the highlights, I was able to see Uranus (easy) and M 33 (hard) naked eye, as well as catch the two brightest satellites of Uranus with my scope. Dave Cooper and Peter Natscher also shared some superb views in their scopes (respectively an AP 6″ apo refractor and a 24″ F/3.7 Starmaster dobsonian telescope)

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations I had during the day with fellow observers. That’s why I’ve come to love star parties. Even if the weather is not so great, it’s always a fantastic opportunity to learn new things.

Below is my log for both nights. Most objects are from the Herschel 400 list. From now on, I will start mixing in Herschel II and Herschel I objects in my observing routine, in addition to some objects from Alvin Huey’s awesome free guides: “Selected Small Galaxy Groups” and “Selected Galaxy Trios” (which I had printed and coil binded at Fedex Kinko’s) Cheers!

Location: Lake San Antonio [Elevation 1082 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

Thursday, September 17

NGC 7142 OC Cep 21h45m25.3s +65°49’26″ 10.0 mag 08:40pm
Very inconspicuous group of about 40 moderately faint stars over a milky background. Slightly elongated WNW-ESE. A few brighter stars delimit this cluster on the north and east sides.

NGC 7331 GX Peg 22h37m33.1s +34°28’14″ 10.2 mag 09:00pm
Elongated 3×1 NNW-SSE. Fairly bright core region surrounding a bright stellar nucleus visible at 217x and 305x during brief moments of better seeing. The halo is rather dim compared to the core. It extends about 6′ along its major axis. The western half of the galaxy looks darker, due to the presence of a dark lane. Very faint superimposed star about 2′ SSE of nucleus. NGC 7335, NGC 7337 and NGC 7340 were easily detected. NGC 7336 was not detected. I did not search for nearby NGC 7325 and NGC 7326.

NGC 6210 (Turtle Nebula) PN Her 16h44m54.4s +23°47’05″ 9.7 mag 09:25pm
At 95x, this planetary nebula appears bright, almost stellar, and exhibits an obvious blue color. At 217x and 305x, the color is a bit washed out. At those magnifications, this planetary nebula appears round and very uniform, about 10 to 15″ in diameter, and seems to be surrounded by a slightly larger and rather faint envelope (unless this is scattered light). I did not detect a central star.

NGC 6572 (Blue Racquetball) PN Oph 18h12m35.8s +06°51’28″ 8.0 mag 09:40pm
At 95x, this planetary nebula appears bright, stellar, and exhibits an obvious blue color. At 217x and 305x, the color is a bit washed out. At those magnifications, this planetary nebula appears very uniform, roughly 10″ in diameter, and seems surrounded by a very faint envelope about 3 times the size of the nebula (unless this is scattered light). I did not detect a central star. There is a faint group of a dozen stars 10′ west.

NGC 7217 GX Peg 22h08m20.6s +31°24’39″ 11.1 mag 10:35pm
Bright, round non stellar core surrounded by a larger, relatively bright uniform halo. Faint superimposed star less than 1′ NNE of the core.

NGC 7814 GX Peg 00h03m47.1s +16°12’11″ 11.6 mag 10:50pm
Moderately bright and large. Appears roundish at first, progressively brighter toward its center. At higher magnification and with careful examination, a faint halo extending NW-SE can be detected. The bisecting dust lane obvious on photographs was not seen.

NGC 7448 GX Peg 23h00m34.6s +16°02’10″ 12.1 mag 11:00pm
Pretty small, moderately bright, elongated 2×1 NNW-SSE, faint nucleus seen intermittently at high magnification. Suspected the detached segment that makes this galaxy peculiar to be at the northern tip of the galaxy.

Mayall II (M31-G1) GC And 00h33m20.0s +39°38’04″ 13.7 mag 12:20am
Appears faint and stellar, thus requiring a very detailed chart to find! Forms a very tight triangle with two field stars. In order to confirm the observation, I sketched a few field stars along with the position of the presumed globular. The result is very close to the sketch published by Sue French in the December issue of Sky & Telescope’s Deep Sky Wonder column. I believe that excellent seeing and high magnification are essential to see the non-stellar nature of this target.

NGC 205 (M 110) GX And 00h40m56.5s +41°44’30″ 8.9 mag 12:30am
Fairly large and bright, elongated 2×1 NW-SE, gradually brighter to a stellar nucleus.

NGC 891 GX And 02h23m12.6s +42°23’30″ 10.9 mag 12:45am
Moderately faint, elongated roughly 6×1 NNE-SSW, about 12′ along its major axis. The dust lane splitting this galaxy in half is clearly visible only through the central bulge. Several fairly bright stars are superimposed. Peter Natscher’s 24″ scope showed the bisecting dust lane much more clearly, along with some mottling.

NGC 7293 (Helix) PN Aqr 22h30m12.6s -20°47’05″ 6.3 mag 12:55am
Large, fairly dim, best seen using a UHC filter at low power. The ring structure, very slightly elongated NW-SE, can easily be seen. The NW and SE portions of the rim are clearly dimmer. A few superimposed stars, including what appears to be the central star, can be seen inside the ring over a faint background.

NGC 7662 (Blue Snowball) PN And 23h26m24.4s +42°35’30″ 8.6 mag 01:30am
At 95x, this planetary nebula appears bright, stellar, and looks slightly bluish. At 217x and 305x, the center region of the nebula appears darker, and an elliptical ring oriented roughly E-W can be detected. What I failed to see is the lumpy texture of the ring, beautifully documented in the October issue of Astronomy Now’s Drawn To The Universe column.

Friday, September 18

NGC 6822 (Barnard’s Galaxy) GX Sgr 19h45m32.4s -14°46’43″ 9.4 mag 08:30pm
Large (roughly 15′ x 10′), elongated NNE-SSW, extremely pale, very easy to miss when sweeping the area, which is probably why this galaxy was missed by Herschel and was discovered so late (Barnard, 1881). There are a few superimposed stars throughout. A couple of small knots (probably HII regions) were seen using a UHC filter (although I did not note their position) This galaxy is part of the Local Group of galaxies.

NGC 7027 PN Cyg 21h07m25.2s +42°16’47″ 9.6 mag 08:50pm
Small, bright, exhibiting an obvious blue color, elongated 3:2 NW-SE, rectangular in shape, slightly wider on the NW side. A faint outer envelope, about twice the size of the nebula, was suspected (unless it could be scattered light)

NGC 6503 GX Dra 17h49m20.4s +70°08’46″ 10.8 mag 09:15pm
Fairly bright, moderately large, elongated 3×1 WNW-ESE, fairly uniform with only a slight brightening of the core region. Detected a very weak nucleus or superimposed star.

NGC 7023 BN Cep 21h01m45.3s +68°12’26″ mag 09:40pm
Fairly dim nebulosity, roughly 2′ in diameter, around V380 Cep (mag 7.4). Dim patch around 2 to 3′ south of V380 Cep (photographs confirm the presence of this extension). A UHC filter makes the nebula disappear, confirming its reflective nature.

NGC 7479 GX Peg 23h05m28.0s +12°22’45″ 11.7 mag 10:20pm
Moderately bright, fairly small, elongated 5:2 N-S, weak fairly large core. Moderately bright (mag 12.9) superimposed star at the northern end, slightly dimmer (mag 13.7) star about 1′ SW of the center. Suspected some mottling in the core. This galaxy is actually a barred spiral. The arms should be visible under better conditions and with a slightly larger scope.

NGC 7078 (M 15) GC Peg 21h30m28.0s +12°12’47″ 6.3 mag 10:25pm
Fairly large, very bright, very intense core, resolved throughout. Located about 7′ SW of a bright (mag 7.6) star.

NGC 7099 (M 30) GC Cap 21h40m57.3s -23°07’56″ 6.9 mag 10:35pm
Moderately large and bright, well defined core, well resolved throughout. The SE region looks darker. Quite a few brighter stars are visible in the halo.

NGC 404 (Mirach’s Ghost) GX And 01h10m01.9s +35°46’21″ 11.2 mag 11:00pm
Located about 7′ NW of Mirach (Beta And), a mag 2.0 star exhibiting a beautiful golden color. Moderately bright and small, round, gradually brighter to a fairly bright stellar nucleus best seen at high magnification.

NGC 628 (M 74) GX Psc 01h37m15.2s +15°50’11″ 9.7 mag 11:35pm
Fairly bright and small core embedded inside a large round faint halo showing hints of mottling at higher magnification. Very faint superimposed star within 1′ ESE of the center, slightly brighter one about 1.5′ ENE. Spiral structure better seen in Peter Natscher’s 24″ scope.

NGC 7606 GX Aqr 23h19m37.3s -08°25’42″ 11.7 mag 12:10am
Moderately large and bright, elongated 2×1 NNW-SSE, fairly bright stellar core, uniform halo.

NGC 7727 GX Aqr 23h40m26.2s -12°14’02″ 11.6 mag 12:20am
Fairly small and bright, small round intense core, round uniform halo. NGC 7723 and NGC 7724 nearby.

NGC 7723 GX Aqr 23h39m29.4s -12°54’15″ 11.9 mag 12:25am
Fairly small, moderately faint, moderately bright stellar nucleus surrounded by a fairly uniform halo elongated 3:2 NE-SW. Located about 20′ ENE of a bright yellow double star. NGC 7727 and NGC 7724 nearby.

NGC 253 (Sculptor Galaxy) GX Scl 00h48m04.1s -25°13’53″ 7.9 mag 12:45am
Very easily seen along globular cluster NGC 288 in 9×50 finder scope. Very large and bright, elongated 6×1 NE-SW. The core region is large, bright, and shows some obvious mottling (seen even better in Peter Natscher’s 24″ scope). Numerous fairly bright field stars are superimposed.

NGC 247 GX Cet 00h47m39.8s -20°42’11″ 9.7 mag 12:55am
Pretty large, moderately faint, elongated 6×1 N-S, very weak central condensation. Fairly bright (mag 9.5) star at the southern tip, moderately bright (mag 11.6) superimposed star about 7′ S.

NGC 288 GC Scl 00h53m15.8s -26°31’34″ 8.1 mag 01:00am
Very easily seen along galaxy NGC 253 in 9×50 finder scope. Fairly large and bright, fairly uniform, well resolved throughout.

NGC 613 GX Scl 01h34m47.8s -29°21’46″ 10.7 mag 01:10am
Moderately large and bright, elongated 3×1 NW-SE, fairly bright small round core. Hints of two spiral arms, one starting at the NW end, bending towards the W, and a symmetrical arm starting at the SE end, bending towards the E.

NGC 7793 GX Scl 23h58m22.3s -32°32’00″ 9.7 mag 01:15am
Moderately large, fairly faint, elongated 4:3 E-W, faint almost stellar core.

NGC 524 GX Psc 01h25m20.5s +09°35’35″ 11.4 mag 01:30am
Bright, fairly small. Intense core surrounding an almost stellar nucleus. Fairly bright round halo. Brightest member of the Shakhbazian 40 group.

NGC 1023 GX Per 02h41m02.8s +39°06’23″ 9.6 mag 01:35am
Moderately large, fairly bright, small bright round core, halo elongated 2×1 E-W. Two faint superimposed stars about 1′ W of the center, and one faint superimposed star about 1′ E. The companion NGC 1023A was not seen.

NGC 488 GX Psc 01h22m19.2s +05°18’41″ 11.1 mag 02:00am
Fairly small and bright, bright round core surrounded by a halo very slightly elongated N-S.

NGC 185 GX Cas 00h39m32.8s +48°23’36″ 10.2 mag 02:15am
This is a satellite of M31. Fairly large, pretty uniform, large faint core surrounded by a halo elongated 4:3 NNE-SSE. Located in a crowded region of the milky way. Could not detect the dust patch seen on photographs.

NGC 278 GX Cas 00h52m39.9s +47°36’20″ 11.5 mag 02:30am
Fairly small, pretty bright, fairly bright stellar nucleus, round uniform halo. Located about 3′ S of a bright (mag 8.8) field star.

A Better Implementation Of The Input Prompt Pattern

The Input Prompt pattern consists in prefilling a text field with a prompt as a way of supplying help information for controls whose purpose or format may not be immediately clear. In the browser, this pattern is most often implemented by dynamically modifying the value property of a text field element via the focus and blur event handlers attached to the text field, as shown in this example (live demo):


.hint {
  color: #999;


<input type="text" id="sbx">

JavaScript (based on YUI 3.0.0):

YUI().use('node', function (Y) {
    var sbx = Y.get('#sbx');
    Y.on('domready', function () {
        sbx.set('value', 'Search');
        Y.on('focus', function () {
            if (this.get('value') === 'Search') {
                this.set('value', '');
        }, sbx);
        Y.on('blur', function () {
            if (this.get('value') === '') {
                this.set('value', 'Search');
        }, sbx);

Note: the code is intentionally implemented inside a domready event handler to work around issues related to form field caching.

The main problem with implementing this pattern using the value property is that the default text is used if the form is submitted while the input prompt is showing. Trying to work around this by testing the content of the text field when the form is submitted makes the default text impossible to use as a value. Another side effect of this implementation is that most developers will forget to attach a <label> element to the text field, leading to a confusing experience for screen reader users as they lack the necessary context to understand the purpose of the control.

A better implementation of this pattern consists in using a <label> element and positioning it on top of the text field it is attached to. Here is an example of this implementation (live demo):


#container {
    position: relative;
#container label {
    position: absolute;
    top: 4px; *top: 6px; left: 3px;
    color: #999;
    cursor: text;
#container label.offscreen {
    left: -9999px;


<div id="container">
    <label for="sbx" class="offscreen">Search</label>
    <input type="text" id="sbx">

JavaScript (based on YUI 3.0.0):

YUI().use('node', function (Y) {
    var sbx = Y.get('#sbx'),
        lbl = Y.get('#container label');
    Y.on('domready', function () {
        sbx.set('value', '');
        Y.on('mousedown', function () {
            setTimeout(function () {
            }, 0);
        }, lbl);
        Y.on('focus', function () {
        }, sbx);
        Y.on('blur', function () {
            if (sbx.get('value') === '') {
                sbx.set('value', '');
        }, sbx);

As always, I am looking forward to reading your comments and answering your questions in the comments section of this blog.

OR: Henry Coe State Park, 8/15

A lot of people showed up for some stargazing at the overflow parking lot at Henry Coe state park. The conditions were pretty good overall:

  • Light winds coming from the north west
  • Temperature in the high to mid 60s
  • Good seeing
  • Average transparency

While waiting for the sky to turn dark, I pointed my scope toward Antares, which was showing a fairly clean split while still high in the southern sky. The dim companion, a white dwarf, was located just to the west of the red giant.

I then spent most of the evening tracking down some bright targets from the Herschel 400 list. Among the highlights, the Saturn nebula (NGC 7009) was showing a lot of details (see description below)

Before wrapping up around 1am, I looked at Jupiter. The view was absolutely incredible, although the wind proved to be a bit of a problem with my light weight scope. The great red spot was more colorful than I can ever remember. Its color used to be a very delicate pink mixed with a little bit of gray a few years ago. But this time, it was definitely orange. A lot of tiny details could be spotted throughout the bands, and even in the polar regions! What a view to behold!

Here are my observations. Overall, it was a good night, and I’m glad I went out. Cheers!

Location: Henry Coe state park [Elevation 2600 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x – 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x – 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x – 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x – 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x – 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 7128

NGC 7128 OC Cyg 21h44m19.3s +53°45’39″ 11.3 mag 09:30p
About 15 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 4′ x 2′ elongated NE-SW. The brightest star, located NE of the cluster, shows a nice orange/reddish color.

NGC 7086

NGC 7086 OC Cyg 21h30m49.2s +51°38’39″ 11.6 mag 09:40p
About 50 moderately bright stars within 10′.

NGC 7062

NGC 7062 OC Cyg 21h23m50.4s +46°25’18″ 8.3 mag 09:45p
About two dozen moderately bright to moderately faint stars located within 5′. Slightly elongated E-W.

NGC 7006

NGC 7006 GC Del 21h01m58.1s +16°13’44″ 10.6 mag 09:50p
Small, faint, small fairly bright core, fairly faint halo, unresolved.

NGC 7009

NGC 7009 (Saturn Nebula) PN Aqr 21h04m44.6s -11°19’22″ 8.3 mag 10:30p
At low power (95x), this planetary nebula appears small, fairly bright, elongated 3:2 WNW-ESE, and exhibits a delicate blue/green color. At higher magnification (217x and 305x), the center of the nebula appears very slightly darker. Faint extensions show up on both sides of the oval disk, terminated by a tiny slightly brighter knot. The extension on the ESE side seems to slightly bend toward the NE. Finally, during brief moments of better seeing, a ring elongated 2:1 appears inside the nebula. The central star was not detected.

NGC 6940

NGC 6940 OC Vul 20h34m52.3s +28°19’09″ 7.2 mag 10:45p
About 80 stars within an area 25′ x 10′ elongated WNW-ESE. Orange star in the center.

NGC 6885

NGC 6885 OC Vul 20h12m27.3s +26°30’35″ 5.7 mag 10:50p
Sparse cluster of roughly 20 fairly bright stars within an area 20′ in diameter, centered around 20 Vul (mag 5.9) Another open cluster, NGC 6882, is embedded inside NGC 6885.

NGC 6882

NGC 6882 OC Vul 20h12m13.2s +26°50’35″ 10:50p
About 20 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 10′ in diameter located about 10′ NW of 20 Vul (mag 5.9), and inside another open cluster, NGC 6885.

NGC 6939

NGC 6939 OC Cep 20h31m44.1s +60°41’48″ 10.1 mag 11:10p
About 80 moderately bright stars within an area roughly 10′ in diameter. The southern boundary seems delimited by an almost perfect alignment of 5 brighter stars. Slight triangular shape, like an arrow moving west… Forms a superb couple with galaxy NGC 6946. Both objects can be seen within the 1.2 degree field of view of the Panoptic 27mm.

NGC 7160

NGC 7160 OC Cep 21h53m59.4s +62°39’00″ 6.4 mag 11:40p
About 20 fairly bright stars scattered within an area roughly 5′ in diameter, centered around two very bright stars (mag 7.0 and 7.9) separated by about 1′.

NGC 7380

NGC 7380 OC Cep 22h47m46.7s +58°11’00″ 8.8 mag 12:40a
About 30 moderately bright stars within 15′. Apparently, this cluster is embedded inside a nebula (Sh 2-142) but I did not notice anything, and since I was not aware of it, I did not think of trying a narrow-band filter.

NGC 7510

NGC 7510 OC Cep 23h11m30.4s +60°37’22″ 9.3 mag 12:45a
About 20 moderately bright to moderately faint stars within an area 5′ x 2′ elongated WSW-ENE.

NGC 40

NGC 40 PN Cep 00h13m36.3s +72°34’28″ 10.7 mag 01:00a
Moderately large and bright, fairly bright central star, very slightly elongated NNE-SSW. Appears pretty uniform at first. With careful examination, the southern region of the nebula shows a slight darkening. The rim is fairly well defined, and slightly brighter than the disk itself. Superimposed star on the SSW rim.

OR: D.A.R.C. Observatory, 7/25

I went to the D.A.R.C. observatory last Saturday to observe or re-observe a few Herschel 400 summer objects, as well as enjoy some eye candy under a dark sky. I was setup right next to Dennis Beckley and his classic Obsession 18″. Here is a summary of the weather conditions:

  • Wind died down shortly after sunset
  • Temperature in the low 70s
  • Good seeing (6 to 7 on the Pickering scale)
  • Average transparency (the light dome from Los Banos, which I use as an indication of the moisture content in the atmosphere, was fairly conspicuous)
  • NELM 6.7 in Lyra
  • Thin clouds started showing up around 1am from the east

Overall, it was a pretty good night, although not as good as what the D.A.R.C. observatory has proven capable of. Among the highlights of the night, I got to observe Triton for the first time. The Jupiter impact mark was seen very easily, and Jupiter’s satellites were resolved as tiny discs of different diameters. The “ink spot” (Barnard 86 located right next to OC NGC 6520) looked absolutely remarkable. Stephan’s quintet was looking pretty good in my scope, and was easy in Dennis’ 18″ scope. Finally, I really enjoyed looking at V Aql, a fairly bright carbon star of deep orange color with a tinge of red. What is interesting about this star, beyond its striking color, is the presence of planetary nebula NGC 6751 about 30′ SE. It is therefore possible to fit both objects within the same field of view in modest amateur telescopes (8 to 12″), portraying two stages of stellar evolution as the carbon star will eventually become a planetary nebula in a not so distant future.

On Sunday morning, I had an immense satisfaction when I looked at a DSS image of galaxy NGC 6217 (Arp 185), and noticed that my notes (see below) were absolutely right on! I find it absolutely amazing that such wispy details can be detected with such a small aperture under a good dark sky.

I cannot end this report without thanking Dr. Lee Hoglan for letting us observe on his property. Below is my log for the night. Cheers!

Location: D.A.R.C. Observatory [Elevation 1400ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x - 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x - 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x - 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x - 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x - 16′ TFOV)
(All times in PDT)

NGC 6217

NGC 6217 GX UMi 16h32m15.6s +78°10’52″ 11.9 mag 10:15p
Small, faint, elongated 3:2 NW-SE, fairly faint stellar core or super imposed star. Very faint super imposed star about 20″ SE, another one about 2.5′ NW. Hints of two spiral arms, one on the N side going E, and another one on the S side going W. This observation was later beautifully confirmed with a DSS image.

NGC 6834

NGC 6834 OC Cyg 19h52m37.2s +29°26’04″ 9.7 mag 10:30p
Seen as a tiny smudge in a 9×50 finder scope. Small grouping of about 30 moderately bright stars. One brighter star in the middle, with a possible slight yellow tinge. Located in a region with relatively few stars (dark nebula?) in an otherwise crowded milky way star field. For some reason, I found it hard to star-hop to…

NGC 6866

NGC 6866 OC Cyg 20h04m16.1s +44°11’11″ 9.1 mag 10:40p
About 30 fairly bright stars within a region 15′ in diameter. Detected in 9×50 finder scope.

NGC 6910

NGC 6910 OC Cyg 20h23m34.7s +40°48’37″ 7.3 mag 10:45p
Small group of about 15 stars, elongated 2×1 WNW-ESE (dimensions: 10′ x 5′) The two brightest stars have a yellow tinge. Located about 30′ N of Gamma Cyg (Sadr)

NGC 7044

NGC 7044 OC Cyg 21h13m32.8s +42°32’06″ 12.0 mag 10:50p
Small compact group of maybe 50 faint stars (hard to get a reliable star count) scattered within a circular region of about 5′ in diameter.

NGC 6522

NGC 6522 GC Sgr 18h04m14.3s -30°02’08″ 9.9 mag 11:00p
Fairly small, moderately faint, fairly well defined core, halo appears grainy. There is a moderately bright star located about 30″ E which probably does not belong to this cluster. Forms a beautiful couple with globular cluster NGC 6528 located about 15′ E.

NGC 6528

NGC 6528 GC Sgr 18h05m28.3s -30°03’25″ 9.6 mag 11:00p
Fairly small, moderately faint, fairly well defined core, unresolved. Located at the NW edge of B298. Forms a beautiful couple with globular cluster NGC 6522 located about 15′ W. This cluster is slightly dimmer than its neighbor NGC 6522 (some of its light may be absorbed by B298?)

NGC 6818

NGC 6818 PN Sgr 19h44m32.6s -14°07’45″ 10.0 mag 11:25p
Tiny fairly bright disk, almost circular (extremely slightly elongated NS) showing a delicate bluish tinge, especially at low power. At higher magnification, the center of the nebula appears very slightly darker. The central star (mag 15.0) was not seen. Located inside a small triangle of moderately bright stars.

NGC 6664

NGC 6664 OC Sct 18h37m10.4s -07°48’17″ 8.5 mag 11:45p
About 60 moderately faint stars within 15′. This cluster appears slightly elongated N-S, and is located about 25′ NE of Alpha Sct, which has a fairly distinctive yellow tinge.

NGC 6217

NGC 6712 GC Sct 18h53m37.6s -08°41’33″ 8.1 mag 11:50p
Moderately large and bright with a poorly defined core region. Many stars are resolved over a milky background.

NGC 6802

NGC 6802 OC Vul 19h31m02.2s +20°16’59″ 11.7 mag 12:50a
Small (5′ x 2′) compact group of about 25 very faint stars, elongated N-S. Located just east of the famous coat hanger asterism (Cr 399)

NGC 6823

NGC 6823 OC Vul 19h43m35.6s +23°19’27″ 7.1 mag 12:55a
About 30 fairly bright stars scattered within 6′ around a small group of 4 bright stars and a few fainter ones. Not very conspicuous in a crowded star field. Nearby nebula NGC 6820 was not seen (although I did not really look for it and thus was not using a nebula filter)

NGC 6830

NGC 6830 OC Vul 19h51m25.8s +23°07’33″ 8.9 mag 01:00a
Very inconspicuous grouping of about 20 fairly bright stars.

NGC 6934

NGC 6934 GC Del 20h34m41.3s +07°26’22″ 8.9 mag 02:00a
Relatively small, fairly bright, intense core. A great number of stars are resolved throughout at 217x.

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OR: Henry Coe State Park, 7/20

Jim Harper, Stephen Migol and I met up around sunset at the overflow parking lot at Henry Coe state park. I had a pretty bad experience last time I went to Coe, back in January. However, this time around, the transparency was above average and we got some very decent skies. I did a zenithal NELM test in Lyra, and reached mag 6.2, which is not too bad given the amount of light pollution… The seeing was very soft early on, but slightly improved as the night went on. Temps were in the 60s. There was a fairly strong breeze all night long, which was a bit of a problem for my very lightweight dobsonian telescope. However, by using my car as a shield, I was able to somewhat mitigate the impact of wind gusts.

Henry Coe is the perfect location to get a lot of boring open clusters out of the way, or to do some narrow-banding. I worked in Sagittarius all night, and got some pretty decent views in spite of the light pollution emanating from Gilroy. I took off right around 1am, and was soundly asleep by 2… I’m not used to that anymore! Overall, a fairly decent night. See my log below. Cheers!

Location: Henry Coe state park [Elevation 2600 ft]
Telescope: Meade Lightbridge 12″ F/5
Eyepieces used:
- Televue Panoptic 27mm (56x - 1.2° TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 16mm type 5 (95x - 52′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 9mm type 6 (169x - 29′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 7mm type 6 (217x - 22′ TFOV)
- Televue Nagler 5mm type 6 (305x - 16′ TFOV)
(All times are PDT)

NGC 6569 GC Sgr 18h14m17.9s -31°49’29″ 8.4 mag 09:55p
Moderately small and faint, relatively uniform. The halo takes on a grainy appearance at 219x. Located about 45′ E of smaller and fainter globular cluster NGC 6558, giving a nice comparison.

NGC 6624 GC Sgr 18h24m19.5s -30°21’14″ 7.6 mag 10:00p
Moderately small and fairly bright. Small intense core. Halo resolves in a great number of faint stars during brief moments of better seeing.

NGC 6520 OC Sgr 18h04m02.7s -27°53’20″ 7.6 mag 10:25p
The central region of this open cluster is made up of about 20 fairly bright stars, seemingly arranged in a circle of about 1.5′ in diameter around a pretty bright star with a distinctive orange tinge. A few bright stars are scattered around this area within 8′. Best seen at low power. Amazing contrast with Barnard 86 (a.k.a. the “ink spot”) located just to the west. I’m wondering whether B86 is located in front of or behind NGC 6520.

NGC 6540 OC Sgr 18h06m59.6s -27°47’38″ 14.6 mag 10:30p
Barely noticeable as a faint and tiny (1′) very unimpressive smudge elongated 2×1 E-W. About half a dozen stars are resolved at 219x. PSA says it’s a globular cluster, but it does not look like one and ST mentions it as an open cluster…

NGC 6553 GC Sgr 18h09m55.1s -25°54’26″ 8.3 mag 10:40p
Moderately large, relatively low surface brightness, surprisingly uniform with no obvious core! Appears very slightly elongated NW-SE? Fairly bright (mag 11.8) superimposed star on the NW side. Generally unresolved, very slight grainy appearance maybe? A few stars pop in and out of view during brief moments of better seeing (not sure whether these are actually part of the globular cluster)

NGC 6544 GC Sgr 18h07m57.8s -24°59’52″ 7.5 mag 10:45p
Small (about 1′), moderately bright with a tiny fairly bright core. About a dozen brighter stars are resolved at higher magnification. Surrounded by numerous moderately bright field stars. Both NGC 6544 and M8 should fit within the same field of view of the Panoptic 27, forming an interesting couple, although I did not think of observing both of these objects at once.

NGC 6514 (M 20) OC Sgr 18h03m19.2s -22°58’20″ 5.2 mag 11:10p
Fairly large (about 10′), bright, detected in the finder scope. Absolutely gorgeous at lower magnification with a UHC filter. The dark lanes that split this object in 3 lobes are very well defined. There is a double star in the middle of the nebula. Another nebula, about the same size, is visible, although fainter, slightly to the north.

NGC 6440 GC Sgr 17h49m29.5s -20°21’49″ 9.3 mag 11:15p
Pretty small (1′), moderately faint, moderately well defined core, unresolved. Forms a really beautiful couple with planetary nebula NGC 6445 located about 22′ NNE.

NGC 6445 PN Sgr 17h49m51.5s -20°00’47″ 13.0 mag 11:25p
Pretty small (about 40″), fairly bright, easily found even at low magnification (95x) Forms a really beautiful couple with globular cluster NGC 6440 located about 22′ SSW. At 219x with a UHC filter, appears as a ring very slightly elongated 4:3 NNW-SSE. Brighter arches on the NNW and SSE sides. No central star seen. Moderately faint (mag 12.5) star just 30″ WNW.

NGC 6568 OC Sgr 18h13m20.9s -21°36’10″ 8.6 mag 11:40p
Best seen at low magnification. About 50 moderately bright stars of comparable magnitude, scattered evenly within an area 20′ in diameter. At higher magnification, the stars appear to be forming “chain structures” surrounded by darker regions.

NGC 6583 OC Sgr 18h16m26.0s -22°08’02″ 10.0 mag 11:45p
Compact group made of about 2 dozen stars. Pretty faint, barely noticeable in a crowded star field.

NGC 6629 PN Sgr 18h26m19.8s -23°11’52″ 10.5 mag 12:00a
Careful star hopping is required to found this planetary nebula as it appears almost stellar, especially in below average seeing. Pretty bright, round.

NGC 6642 GC Sgr 18h32m31.4s -23°28’06″ 8.9 mag 12:10a
Small, moderately bright, tiny fairly bright core, halo partially resolved at higher magnification.

NGC 6638 GC Sgr 18h31m34.0s -25°29’25″ 9.2 mag 12:15a
Fairly small, moderately bright, comparatively large core. The halo takes on a grainy appearance during brief moments of better seeing.

NGC 6645 OC Sgr 18h33m12.6s -16°52’34″ 8.5 mag 12:20a
About 50 stars spread within an area roughly 15′ in diameter. Spotted in 9×50 finder scope. Curious oval dark region almost in the middle of the cluster.