Deep Sky Autumn Observations October - Mid-December 2017

Conditions | Observation Overview | Remarks | References

Between October and mid-December 2017, I did simple "deep-sky autumn observations", mostly with binoculars, which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here.

List of observed deep sky objects (the links lead to pages describing the DSOs):

I selected the observation objects primarily on the basis of my literature (see references).



Sky Region and Objects

My observations ranged between the coming Orion in the East to Hercules in the West. I mostly "hunted" for objects that can be observed with binoculars.

Overview Map

The following map shows approximately the sky area that I primarily browsed during my observations:

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window

Observation Time

Observations started early and the sooner, the later it became in the year. At the beginning of November, I also observed after midnight with my binoculars.

Observation Location

All observations were conducted in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

Devices Used

General Conditions

In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for deep sky objects. This is certainly one of the reasons why I found some of the deep sky objects that I wanted to observe only sometimes or not at all.


Observation Overview

Observation Dates

Observed Objects Details, Remarks Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used
October GC: NGC 884/869 (Perseus Double Cluster)
P: Cr 399 (Coat Hanger)
Several observations, both objects seen well Only binocular observations (comparison of the new night glass with the old compact binoculars) LT and TS binoculars  
Nov 4 GE: M42/43 (Orion Nebula)
OS: Mel 25 (Hyades)
M 42/43 seen in binoculars; quite faint due to almost Full Moon (midnight until about 1 o' clock), 2 bright spots (stars and presumably the Trapezium) glow in the nebula
Mel 25 seen well (after midnight)
Only binocular observations (comparison of the new night glass with the old compact binoculars) LT and TS binoculars  
Nov 13 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
GC: M 13 (Hercules Globular Cluster)
OC: NGC 884/869, Mel 20 (Perseus Cluster), M 45 (Pleiades), Mel 25, M 34, M 39, M 11 (Wild Duck Cluster)
P: Cr 399, St 2 (Muscle Man)
NGC 884/869 with "ring" (at its end is supposed to be St 2)
St 2 (muscle man) located at the "ring" of the double cluster: shape not recognized as such, but seen stars...
Cr 399 found via Albireo
M 39 at Deneb, at the upper left end of a transverse Ypsilon shape (TS)
M 11 Wild Duck Cluster, probably not seen at the bottom of the swan
100P: Mel 20, NGC 884/869, M 34, M 39 LT and TS binoculars, Heritage 100P Not documented
Dec 12 GE: M42/43
OS: M 45, Mel 25, M 35
M 42/43, M 35, M45, Mel 25 seen well, M 35 not so good...   LT and TS binoculars  

Bold: First observation during this observation period; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, P = star pattern

Observed Sky Objects (Mostly Objects Found)

DSO Details
Name Constellation Type Bino* 100P Remarks
M 13 Hercules Cluster Hercules GC yes   Seen well in binoculars
M 39   Cygnus OC yes yes View in telescope not impressing
Cr 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula P yes   Seen well in binoculars, found via Albireo
M 11 Wild Duck Cluster Scutum OC yes   Probably not seen...
M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda G yes   A glow in binoculars
M 34   Perseus OC yes yes Primarily an object for binoculars
NGC 884/869 Perseus Double Cluster Perseus OC yes yes Seen well in binoculars, with "oval" of stars
Mel 20 Alpha Persei Cluster (Mirfak) Perseus OC yes yes Seen well in binoculars, very extended
Mel 25 Hyades Taurus OC yes   Seen well in binoculars, very extended
M 45 Pleiades Taurus OC yes   Seen well in binoculars
M 42/43 Orion Nebula Orion GE yes   M 42/43 seen in binoculars; very faint because it was nearly Full Moon (midnight until about 1'clock), 2 bright spots (stars, probably the Trapezium) glowed in the nebula
M 35   Gemini G yes   M 35 seen only faintly

*) LT and TS binoculars; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, GE = galactic emission nebula, P = star pattern




When looking for deep sky objects, a good preparation is mandatory - you can read this, and I can confirm it. "Good preparation" basically means that you compile a list of the objects that you would like to observe, and to find out where and how the objects can be found.

Is it it or not?

If you point your telescope with the help of the red dot finder approximately to the desired sky object, look into the eyepiece and see nothing or only "nebulous clouds," but not something that resembles the object in question, the question arises: Is the sky too light-polluted that I can recognize the object or does the telescope point in the wrong direction? Admittedly, I was - even after repeated attempts - not able to clarify this question for some of the objects that I tried to observe manually.



All the star maps were created with SkySafari Plus for Apple Macintosh.


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