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A Binocular Sweep Down the Milky Way - Scutum to Sagittarius

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#1 Rustler46



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Posted 21 September 2020 - 10:50 PM


  20 X 65 Oberwerk Deluxe Binoculars, FOV = ~2.9°

  Carried by Oberwerk Series 5000 tripod



  Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas - Chart 67



2020 September 19



Coos Bay, OR


Sky Conditions:           

Clear, some thin smoke, crescent Moon has set, poor seeing, Bortle 5 light-pollution regime, Milk Way visible from Sagittarius through Cassiopeiae


The following notes were transcribed from observations captured on a voice recorder. These are just my take on what was discerned via continued scrutiny.


M11 - Open Cluster, Wild Duck Cluster

The quadrilateral figure including R Scuti is in the FOV along with Beta Scuti, in the O.C. there are two bright stars, one adorning the cluster's periphery and another fainter one mixed in with other cluster members, AV (averted vision) shows quite a few of the other individual stars, direct vision shows a lumpy glow for the most part, quite the spectacular sight, larger than M26


M26 - Open cluster

Found some distance below M11, much smaller, has a bright star on its periphery, it is just a small lumpy glow, a little sparkley, AV allows seeing some individual members, a nice little "faint fuzzy" which Messier could have easily mistaken for a comet, about 1/2 dozen stars easily seen associated with the glow, Delta- and Epsilon-Scuti in same FOV


NGC 6712 - Globular cluster 

Near O.C. M26, identified by following a string of stars beginning below M26 to below the G.C., a faint glow shown with averted vision, with direct vision it is seen with difficulty, no individual stars seen, but it is brighter in the center


M16 - Open cluster & bright nebula, Eagle Nebula

Found to the west of Gamma Scuti, first glance reveals a bright glow punctuated by some stars within, this part of the Milky Way is rather devoid of brighter field stars, but M16 is right at the top of an interesting S-shaped asterism composed of a dozen or so faint stars, within the glow of M16 are some stars easily seen (perhaps 1/2 dozen), one is a bit brighter, two other members (a bit fainter) are on the opposite side of the nebula, AV really helps to observe this object, the nebula does not extend down as far as the middle of the top loop of the "S", it is only present on the top end of the "S", the nebulosity is dimmer than that found in M17


M17 - Bright nebula, Omega or Swan Nebula

This object forms an equilateral triangle with Gamma Scuti and M16 with M17 below the other two, the nebulosity is brighter than that in M16, a bar-shaped glow, the "duck-neck and head" shape is known to hang down below the right (west) side of the bar, but this feature is not strongly seen under present circumstances, one star is easily seen in the neck area, there might be another star below that perhaps not involved with the nebulosity, nebula shows well with AV, not much more than a bar shaped nebula, O.C. M18 is below 1/2 way to FOV edge, more bright field stars compared to M16, larger than M18


M18 - Open cluster

Found a bit over a degree below M17, smaller than M17, appears a bit nebulous due to faint stars beyond limit of visibility, there are two brighter stars within, with AV 2-3 other stars can be easily seen, a little bit elliptical, longer in the N-S direction, right below is found the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (M24), more bright field stars compared to M16


M24 - Small Sagittarius Star Cloud

Just below M18, the bounding dark nebulae (seen at a darker site) are not very prominent in this light-pollution regime, just some darker areas outlining the star cloud, basically a brighter glowing part of the Milky Way, O.C. NGC 6603 possibly seen as a dim spot in M24, the latter extends across 3/4 to 9/10 of the entire FOV (2.2° to 2.6°), it contains at least a couple of dozen bright stars and as many as 4 dozen seen with further scrutiny, this object looks nothing like a comet, so it's a mystery why Messier included it in his catalog


NGC 6603 - Open cluster

Possibly seen as a dim spot in M24 


M25 - Open cluster

Found east of the upper (N) end of the M24 star cloud, a real bright splashy large cluster, bounded on the E and N by two bright stars above and one of those two and another little bit fainter one on the left, these 3 field stars for nearly a right triangle, within that the cluster is kind of in a little stream, some faint stars hanging below a bright triangle, to the left of that is a line of 3-4 stars going down, there are 18 easily seen stars in the cluster, with AV I would add another 6 (easily) to that count 


M23 - Open cluster

About as far west of the bottom of M24 as M25 is to its east, a very interesting cluster, most stars are much fainter (around 9th mag.) than those in M25, similar to that cluster it is bound on east and north by 3 stars forming a right triangle, there is a 4th fainter field star forming the 4th corner of a quadrilateral, the cluster is situated mostly in the top-left location (NE) of that quad, there is a bright 6th magnitude star star on NE side of cluster, there are about 2 dozen stars easily seen, pretty much circular, the central concentration (if there is any) is kind of oval, certainly different from the other O.Cs. seen this evening, a lot of variety seen in the field


M22 - Globular cluster

Found below O.C. M25, just emerging from behind the birdhouse low in my SW horizon, the patterns of field star verify the ID, but this one is big and bright, a slightly elliptical glow, AV shows its large extent quite well, a little bit brighter in the center and kind of fades away radially, after extensive scrutiny most individual stars are below the visibility limit for this aperture, this is made more difficult because of the low contrast caused by unseen background fainter cluster members, but I get the sense there is at least 1 individual star (perhaps 10th magnitude) seen in there offset SE from the center, this star pops in and out depending on the seeing, there are two other fainter ones occasionally (and uncertainly) seen, just knowing what I looking at when seen with an 8-10 inch 'scope it is astounding what these binoculars are showing, there is an interesting quadrilateral asterism above the G.C., one of the four is quite a bit brighter, below to the west is a bright triangle of field stars, one of these is the orange 5.5 magnitude 24 Sagittarii


​These Oberwerk 20 X 65 Deluxe Binoculars are a joy to use. The tripod allows height adjustment for very relaxed viewing. As long as the elevation is under 45 degrees viewing is comfortable. Above that is a bit rough on the neck, due to the lack of star diagonals.

Edited by Rustler46, 22 September 2020 - 02:28 PM.

  • Dave Mitsky, Inkswitch, cuzimthedad and 6 others like this

#2 j.gardavsky


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Posted 22 September 2020 - 01:42 PM

A very nice sweep!


I've got a smile on my face, as I usually start this sweep from the M22 up to the Wild Duck Cluster.


Thank you for sharing,


#3 Rustler46



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Posted 24 September 2020 - 09:53 PM

Thanks, JG. This area of the sky is the deep-sky focus for us northerners in the summer months. If it stays clear tonight my plan is to revisit some of these objects, this time with my 10-inch reflector.


Whether I'm using 20X65 binoculars or my largest OTA (Celestron-11), observing objects near the limit of visibility is very similar. These "faint fuzzies" require observing skills and a degree of imagination. Yet in these cases the experience is similar. I tend to more often observe the objects that are well-seen with the aperture in use. Viewing the showpiece objects never loses its allure for me. I know others see these as a case of "been there - done that", time to add others to the list. Of course there is value in this, to expand what has been observed. But I never tire of seeing the more spectacular objects.



The sky was too hazy with a bright Moon to attempt deep sky observing. After a quick look at M13 and M92, two of my favorite globular clusters, I moved on to observing double stars.


Best Regards,


Edited by Rustler46, 25 September 2020 - 02:05 PM.

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#4 j.gardavsky


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Posted 25 September 2020 - 04:31 AM

Hello Rustler,


I understand you, completely, I have a very similar sweeps through the Milky Way, I am doing during the dark adaptation with my binoculars, before getting started with the observing program.


Clear skies,


#5 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 12:17 PM

I did a couple of similar sweeps some of which also included M6, M7, M8, and M28 over the weekend and on Monday night from the Naylor Observatory with my wife's recently acquired Canon IS 15x50s.

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