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Binocular Observing List - DSO's in Groups

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#1 EdZ


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Posted 11 July 2005 - 12:27 PM

Binocular DSO Groups

This Binocular List has Deep Sky Objects listed in groups, sometimes 3 or 4, but usually 2 objects in a group. Seeing DSOs in groups makes observing that much more enjoyable. Many of these objects are challenging and may not be seen unless observing with large binoculars or in very dark skies. In some cases I discuss what can be seen in various sizes of binoculars. Most of these observations are in reference to my best skies about mag5.5 to 5.7. In all cases this observation list was compiled out of my field notes from past binocular observing sessions.

I can think of one object mentioned here, the planetary neb. in M46, that may not be visible in any binocular, but I mentioned it because I know it's there and some folks might push a BT100 up to 60x or more. This list has been edited to organize the object groups by area of the sky. Some of my observing charts are linked.

There are some very challenging DSO groups in this list. There are over 100 objects in about 40 groups just in this list, and nearly each one of those groups has a difficult challenge object. There are only five or six objects listed here that I have not ever seen in a binocular; the western portion of the Veil, the Pipe nebula, H20 and the planetary in M46 among them. By no means is this a complete list of all the DSO groups that can be seen in binoculars.

See also my list of Doubles in pairs and Doubles Within Clusters.
Binoc Obsrv List - Doubles in Pairs and Within OC

Large Area Objects

Alpha Perseus Association
Orion Association, the belt
Cygnus Milky Way
Virgo Galaxy Cluster
NGC 7000 the North America Nebula
Orion Nebula Complex
Andromeda Galaxy Group
Veil Nebula

Galaxies Groups

M65 - M66 and NGC 3628 in Leo
While M66 and M65 are just seen in 16x70s and 20x80s, both are readily seen in the 25x100s. The companion NGC 3628, not seen in any smaller binocular, was visible several times in the 25x100. In 15x70s, M65 /M66 can be found easily with M65 being difficult, but the companion NGC 3628 will not be seen.

M95 - M96 - M105 and NGC 3384 in Leo.
In the 25x100s, M105 and its companion NGC 3384 make a nice pair. 3384 not seen in smaller binocs. M96 is seen, but M95 remains difficult in 16x70s.

M81 - M82 Ursa Major
M81 and M82 are seen as a pair except at high powers. In one recent observation, both had distinct core and extension. Both can be seen handheld in a 10x50. There are two nearby difficult galaxies, NGC 3077, just 1° se and NGC 2976 1.5° sw of the bright pair.

M31 – M32 – M110 in Andromeda
Using the Fujinons, I found M31 in daylight/dusk about 20min before darkness.
M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Extension of about 1* to 1 1/2* in the 15x70's and 1 1/2* to 2* in the 20x80's. M32 always seen in combination and M110 sometimes seen in combination. One night M31 filled 40% of the 5° fov of my 12x50s.

M58 and M60 in Virgo
A separate category is needed for all the galaxy pairs in the Virgo/Coma Area that include some extremely difficult NGCs. (I need a detailed chart handy to name those), but even when I can’t find most others, I can see M58 and M60, because they are located just north of a triangular asterism with a bright star in its center. I have seen M60, and the pair M84 / M86 in 10x50s.

M108 -M97 in Ursa Major
A difficult pair even for some larger binoculars. M108 has an unusual mottled look for a galaxy. M97 is the brighter of the two objects. M108 needs a good dark sky and a 25x100.

The Cassiopeia / Perseus Clusters

NGC 457 and 436 in Cas
The large bright Owl Cluster and the extremely faint and small nearby cluster 436 offer a deep contrast. 457 is easy. 436 is visible in 15x70.

NGC 654 - NGC 663 and NGC 659 in Cas
663 is fairly sized, but two are small and one of them is quite faint. Two more cluster lie very nearby, M103 and Tr1. All are visible in 10x50, although Tr1 is tiny and 659 is faint.

NGC 869/NGC 884 and Stock2
The famous double cluster and Stock 2, an incredible threesome. The Double Cluster is stunning in 20x80's with extended resolving in both clusters. In the 4.3* fov of the 15x70's, the double cluster is seen in concert with St2.

Mel 15 and NGC 1027
These two clusters reside not far north east of Stoch 2. They will fit in the filed of a 20x80 binocular. Although not particularly easy to find, both clusters show well against the field background.

Kemble's Cascade and NGC 1502
a nice asterism and a cluster with a binocular double at it's center. Struve 485 is an even mag 7 double at 18”. This is an easy pair for a 10x50. NGC1502 is like the pool of water at the bottom of a flowing stream. The stream is known as Kemble’s Cascade, a 3-4°long string of mag 8 and mag 9 stars. This is a beautiful binocular sight.

The Cygnus Milky Way

NGC 7000 the America Nebula. Besides the sheer beauty of the naked eye Milky Way, I think the best dark sky object in this area is NGC 7000, the North America nebula. In a mag 6.7 sky, this outstanding deep sky feature stood out in 15x70s like I have never seen it before in any optics. The entire Florida / Gulf of Mexico / Central America region was the brightest and most obvious. In a mag 5.5 sky, it was not visible in the same 15x70s.

M29 and the group of small clusters just sw of there, Be86, IC4996 and Bas6. Another group is NGC 6871, Bi2 and NGC 6883. Several of these clusters have doubles within. These are difficult clusters for a 25x100.

Double Star 16 Cygnus at 39” and planetary nebula NGC 6826. When looking just off to the side, the planetary did blink in and out of view. I was obviously fatter than the stars in the fov. This observation was with 25x100.

NGC6992-95, the eastern peanut shaped portion of the Veil Nebula can be seen with 15x70s under a dark sky. The star 52 Cyg is embedded in the western portion.

Double star Struve 2738 at 15” and globular 7006 in Delphinus. The double is tough with a 2 mag difference but is easier than the globular. NGC 7006 was not seen in any binocular smaller than 22x100.

Clusters, globular and nebula in Vulpecula and Sagitta

Double star B Cygnus, Albireo is the southern end of the Cross. Open cluster Stock 1 and the pair 6 and 8 Vulpecula lies only 3-4° south and less than 2° apart. This is a good pair for a 10x50.

NGC 6885 – NGC 6882 pair in Vulpeculla. This pair will be difficult for some to distinctly separate even with 25x100. East of these is the broad but faint open cluster 6940.

Little constellation Sagitta has globular M71 near its center, open cluster Harvard 20 less than half a degree sw and M27 less than 4° n of the tip of the arrow. M71 is faint even in a 15x70. In a 10x50 you can see M27 with Sagitta. I have not seen H20 in binoculars.

Detail in Cr399, the Coathanger Deep Magnitude Chart
the deep magnitude chart highlights strings of star groups. I find it easiest to observe these detailed charts when I follow the patterns. Eventually you will pick your favorite patterns and you will know some star magnitudes as a quick test.

Asterisms in the Pleiades
From the M45 detail chart showing stars to mag 13

In section B, Both the Dinosaur and the Orion asterisms have a mag 10.5 star as faintest. The head of the dinosaur is difficult.
the Dinosaur asterism - B9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16
the Orion asterism - B4,5,6,7,8,18

In section D, the Lizard. The line of the body is mag10. The head and legs reach mag 11.
the Lizard asterism - the body D37,38,39,40,41; the head and eyes D42,43; the legs D44,45,46,47.

Globulars M10 and M12 in Ophiucus
25x100s make globular cluster M12 look like it is on the verge of resolution in the outer edges. 16x70s could not resolve M12 at all. The BT100 at 36x did in fact provide some resolution in the outer edges of M12. M10 is brighter and has a brighter core. M12 although fainter, was larger than M10. Both can be seen in 12x50s. M12 is barely seen in a 10x50.

Globulars M9 and NGC 6539 in Ophiucus
M9 is small and globular 6539 to the ne is very faint like a galaxy.
Finding M9 and 6539 was easy in 22x100 and 25x100 but not so easy in the 16x70s.

The Scutum Serpens Sagitarius Area

Open Clusters
NGC 6663 and IC 4756 in Serpens
IC4756 was observed in the BT100 with 20Tvplossls at 31x. Surrounded by about 8 bright stars, densely sprinkled with faint stars. I counted over 100 stars at 31x100, with moonlight in the sky. Nearby 6663, 3.5° to the nw, is a completely different style of cluster, open with many more bright stars. It’s hard to understand why these two were never selected as Messier Objects.

Clusters, Globulars and Dark Nebula
M11 - M26 - NGC 6712 - NGC 6664 in Scutum

M11 looks like a globular. The dense open cluster M11 is right next to a pair of double stars and the variable R Scutum. I’ve never seen R Scutum at minimum. Just north of M11 is a broad Dark Nebula. Just west and south of M11 are small dark nebula patches.

In the area 3°-4° south of M11, M26 is seen easy in the 16x70s but 6712 and 6664 are not seen at all. In 20x80s, globular 6712 is seen and in 6664 only 3 or 4 stars can be glimpsed. In both 22x100s and 25x100s 6712 is seen readily and 8-10 stars can be counted directly in 6664.

Nebula / Clusters
M16 - M17 - M18- M24
This is a beautiful collection of clusters and nebula, in a region of the sky that could keep you busy for hours. To see M16-M17-M18 all at once in a scope, you'd need a 4* fov. I suppose you could take a fast wide field scope and pop in a long wide field eyepiece to get an incredible low power wide field view. But that's pretty much what we do with binoculars, and we get to do it with two eyes. can be seen in 10x50.

M16 is noticed in small binoculars because of the embedded cluster. On M17, the nebula was by far the best in the 25x100s, an up-side-down swan. In the 20x80s, M17 was seen but not with the same size and brightness. In all smaller binoculars, M17 appeared smaller with much less prominence. When observing the area of M16-M17, just below them the oc M18 looks like a small glow. And just south of all these is M24 the vast Sagitarius Star Cloud. Lined up at the south end of the star cloud allows you to look 4° E for M25 and 5° W for M23.

South of this is a vast array of objects, I'm sure some of which can be seen as groups, in Scorpius/Sagitarius, an area that I can't rattle off targets for because I don't get to see it much below my trees. Another whole guide list needs to be written just for this area.

M36 – M37 – M38 The Auriga Clusters
Spend some time really observing the different structure of the clusters in Auriga. They span a full 6°, so as a group they are only seen in lower powered wide field binoculars such as can be seen in 10x50.

M38 - NGC1907 in Auriga
M38 has a very small distant cluster nearby, visible in 25x100s. A closer observer may also find a nearby planetary nebula. M38 has stars that are spaced openly. All the stars are pretty faint, probably the reason why so many can’t seem to find this cluster with mid-sized binocs. It has many stars easily seen, well spaced and all evenly bright.

M36 is much different. It is very compact, with stars tightly grouped. It’s difficult to separate the stars with mid-sized binoculars. On M36, a 15x70 can separate 4 to 6 stars, 20x80 6-7*, Fuji 16x70 saw 8-11*. A glow is readily apparent because about 10-15 of the tightly packed stars are pretty bright. A 25x100 can see about 20 stars. In the BT100, M36 was fully resolved with a very tight double right at the center. M36 has 15 stars between mag 8.9 and 10.65. I saw 22-23 stars resolved.

M37 is the most impressive of the three. It is large and very densely populated. The stars are mostly evenly bright, but none except one very bright. Anything that can be resolved is seen across a bright, diffusely lit background. Mid-sized binoculars have a difficult time resolving the dense cluster. 25x100s can resolve maybe 40 or 50 stars, but they are so tightly packed they can’t be counted. No need to count them! Just sit back and enjoy the view.

M35 / NGC 2158 pair in Gemini
M35 is almost like a natural extension of the row of clusters through Auriga. When observing M35 with 25x100s, I noted distinctly a tiny patch of glow just to the sw, the location of the very distant open cluster NGC2158. M35 was also well resolved. It has more of a bright/faint mix like M36, only it covers a much wider area and has many more than M36.

NGC 2169 and NGC 2194 in Orion
Up in the arm of Orion, I almost always find NGC 2169. 2169 has a few bright stars about mag 6-7, so it shows itself pretty well. But only about 2° to the SE is the far more difficult 2194. Many times I simply cannot see this cluster. A very faint spot just off the north from the two bright guide stars I use to find it. It's nice to see this one as I seldom get the chance.

M46 - M47 clusters in Puppis
vastly different styles of clusters in the same view. And the bonus goes to those observers who can see the 7" double at the center of M47 and (if it can be done) the planetary nebula in M46. The double at the center of M47 is Struve 1121, with components of 7.9-7.9/7.4” and it was cleanly split at 25x. M46 is a very faint fuzzy spot in a 10x50.

NGC 2244 cluster/nebula in Monoceros
the Rosette nebula and cluster 2264 are identified together. It’s an easy cluster. It looks like a miniature Gemini, but it is an extremely challenging nebula. In my mag 5.7 skies I’ve only seen it with the BT100 and 26mm TV plossls at 24x.

Dark Nebula

The pair of DN just west of gamma Aquilla. B142 south and B143 north, dark empty spaces in the rich Milky Way.

The famous pipe nebula on the Scorpius / Ophiucus border.

Bright Nebula
M42 - M43 - NGC complex in Orion Orion’s Sword, and the Trapezium.
Observe this group of nebula and try to split the Trapezium into 4. In the 16x70s AB/8.7” is elongated and not split, but C, D, AB appear clearly as three components of the famous quad. Surrounded by the gaseous glow of M42, this may be the most visually stunning multi-component system in the galaxy. All are split with 20x80s.

#2 Glassthrower


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Posted 11 July 2005 - 12:37 PM

Wow. :bow:

That's less of a list and more of a syllabus! :watching:

Now I can't wait to get my 25's shipped back to Celestron and rectified. In the meantime, I'm to going to reclaim my 15's from my stepson and get re-acquainted them. I'll take a crack at some of these target groups you mentioned. After having the somewhat limited FOV of the 25x100 Celestrons, the FOV on the 15x70's will seem enormous.

Thanks for compiling this list and sharing!


#3 aporigine



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Posted 11 July 2005 - 11:10 PM

Might I submit two groups that have caught my eye(s) in 20x90s under our recent corny copier of good mag6 skies?

Galaxy pair: NGC 4485 and 4490 in CVn just east of beta. 4485 is listed in Burnham as mag 12.1, but it MUST be brighter than that because it's only a little fainter than its neighbor, nominal magnitude 10.1.

Galaxy and planetary: NGC 6822 (Barnard's Galaxy) and 6818, a bright planetary nebula 40' distant in northeastern Sgr. With a major axis of 22 arcseconds, I can't quite convince myself that I'm seeing an extended source.

cheers apo

#4 HfxObserver



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Posted 12 July 2005 - 08:00 AM

The Rho Orph. region is also one of the best fields for scanning around. The House asterism with Antares and Sig Sco forming the floor, Omi and 22 sco the walls and Rho as the peak of the roof. DSO's here include M4, 6144, B44, Rho Orph Nebula.

#5 EdZ


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Posted 12 July 2005 - 08:50 AM

The Rho Orph. region is also one of the best fields for scanning around. The House asterism with Antares and Sig Sco forming the floor, Omi and 22 sco the walls and Rho as the peak of the roof. DSO's here include M4, 6144, B44, Rho Orph Nebula.

Can I ask you waht is Rho Orph? Do you mean Ophiucus Oph?

#6 EdZ


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Posted 12 July 2005 - 08:53 AM

Mike G has been asking for people to submit stuff for quite a while now in the DSO Draft List thread. Thanks for the suggestions, but here I just compiled a list from my observing notes.

I suggest you post all suggestions in the Deep Sky Draft List thread, if you haven't already done so.

For instance, as I referred to above, an entire list of objects can be compiled for the Sag/Sco region. I barely touched on that area. And another list can be compiled for the Virgo region. That area needs some very specific detailed notes. I only listed objects that I view in groups. There are many many more objects that aren't covered yet.


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