Deep Sky Summer/Autumn Observations September - November 2018

Conditions | Observation Overview | List of Observed Sky Objects | References

In September 2018 up tp the beginning of October, I did simple "deep-sky summer / autumn observations," which might be of interest to other beginners and are therefore described here. They took place in Sumène, Haute Loire, France, and were carried out with my Omegon Photography Scope 72/432 telescope and with my binoculars, that is, with simple means.



Sky Region and Objects

I confined my observations to the sky area in the south with Hercules, Cygnus, Lyra on the one hand, and to the area between Andromeda, Cassiopeia, and Perseus on the other hand, as well as Pegasus/Aquarius in between, and Ursa Major in the North.

Overview Map

The following inverted 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 (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy,

And here is the inverted section of the sky in the Northeast to East with Perseus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Triangulum and parts of Pegasus:

Click the map for a larger version - it opens in a new window (Image Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy,

Observation Time

The observations were done in September/October 2018 and from mid-October to mid-November 2018.

Observation Locations

The observations took place in Sumène (close to Saint Julien-Chapteuil), Haute Loire (France):

The observations from mid-October 2018 on took place in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany):

Devices Used

In the first serien in France, I used my Leica Trinovid 10 x 25 BC binoculars (LT binoculars), my TS 10 x 60 binoculars, my Omegon 2.1 wide field binoculars (OM21), and my Omegon PS 72/432 refractor. With the latter, I used my UWA eyepieces (16 mm, 7 mm, 4 mm) and a 24 mm Televue eyepiece for a maximum overview.

During the second series in Mühlhausen, I also used my Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P telescope, my Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 OTA, and also my Omegon 76/300.

So this time I observed "manually" without any GoTo control!

General Conditions

The sky above Sumène, Haute Loire (France) is relatively dark (the Betz observatory used by the Orion43 group is near-by). The milky way could be seen very well at times.

In general, the sky above Mühlhausen/Kraichgau is "light-polluted" and does not invite you to search for deep sky objects.


Observation Overview

Observation Dates

Observed Objects Details, Remarks Further Observations and Remarks Devices Used Eyepieces Used
Sep 16 G: M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
GC: M 13 (Hercules Cluster)
P: Cr 399 (Coat Hanger)
DS: Double Double (Lyra)
Sagitta: constellation fits the field of view well in the OM21

Vulpecula: Cr 399 easy to find from Sagitta; can be seen nearly complete in the OM21, very good with TS

Andromeda: M 31 small, but visible with OM21, good with TS

Hercules: M 13 only a spot with OM21, three spots with TS, the center spot "shimmering" = the globular star cluster

Lyra: Double Double seen "simple" in both binoculars (OM21, TS)

All in all, nice sky despite about half moon

OM21 binoculars, TS binoculars

Sep 17 G: M 31
GC: M 15, M 56, M 71
PN: M 57 (Ring Nebula), M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula)
DS: Double Double, Albireo, Alcor & Mizar
Lyra: Double Double seen as 4 stars at a magnification of 100 x four stars seen (just visible...); M 57 not found; M 56 probably seen

Sagitta: M 71 probably seen faintly

Vulpecula: M 27 seen quite well at different magnifications

Cygnus: Albireo seen well

Andromeda: M 31 seen well, but only the core (different magnifications)

Perseus: M 15 seen well at different magnifications, but small

Lyra: Tried M 57 once more, the nebula only seen at larger magnifications (60/108 x)

Ursa Major: Finally, I was able to separate Alcor & Mizar easily, Mizar itself only at higher magnifications

Perseus: I first thought that M 15 was a star and therefore I did not find it; after looking at a star map, I found it and saw it well, but small at different magnifications (that is why I thought that it was a star at the beginning and did not find it...)
Lyra: Another approach to M 57 (Ring Nebula); not found using low magnification (like a star), only at larger ones; with 60/108 x good to see; Astrid also saw the "hole" in the ring, I guessed it at least...
PS 72/432 UWA 4 mm, 7 mm, WA 24 mm
Sep 19 G: M 31
GC: M 13
OC: NGC 663, Mel 20 (Mirfak Cluster), NGC 884/869 (Perseus Double Cluster)
Hercules/Andromeda: I observed M 13 and M 31 at the smallest and largest magnification

Cassiopeia: Tried to find three OCs; M 103 probably not found, NGC 654 doubtful (unclear what was to be observed...), NGC 663 probably seen (a glow in TS, as Karkoschka writes)

Perseus: Mel 20 seen well, particularly with the TS; acceptable with the PS72, less well with the OM21; NGC 884/869 seen well with TS, guessed with OM21; seen well with PS72, also at somewhat higher magnifications

Later in the evening, the moon made the Milky Way invisible... PS 72/432, TS binoculars, OM21 binoculars UWA 4 mm, 7 mm, WA 24 mm
Sep 20 G: M 31
GC: M 13
OC: NGC 884/869, NGC 663, M 103
Hercules/Andromeda/Perseus: M 13 and M 31 seen well again, NGC 869/884 as well

Cassiopeia: Tried to find NGC 281, 457, 581 (M 103), 654, 663, 559, only seen one of them (a lot of small stars and star pairs, also with 7 mm; a glow in the TS bino), very probably NGC 663; probably also seen 3-4 stars of M 103...

  PS 72/432, TS binoculars UWA 4 mm, 7 mm, 16 mm, ...
Sep 22 Mond
G: M 31
OS: M 103, NGC 663, NGC 457 (E.T./Owl Cluster), NGC 884/869, Mel 20, M 34, NGC 752
Moon: Already close to full moon (Sep 25 very early)

Cassiopeia: M 103 (3-4 stars), NGC 654 not found, NGC 663 (a lot of small stars and star pairs, also with 7 mm; a glow in the TS bino), NGC 457 (also with 7 mm), M 52 not found

Perseus: M 34 (a glow in the TS bino), seen well with PS72; NGC 884/869 and Mel 20 observed only briefly, because I looked for other objects...

Andromeda: M 31; NGC 752 large, many small stars

Triangulum: M 33 not found

Ursa Major: M 101 not found

No galaxies found except for M 31, probably because of the moon light PS 72/432, TS binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm
Sep 27, 2018 GC: M 92, M 13
OC: M 11
Scutum: M 11 - Astrid discovered it with the bino, seen with both LT and TS binoculars, with the PS72 as well: with 24mm only a glow, with 4 mm many stars

Herkules: M 92 seen well with PS72 and 4 mm, bright and small; M 13 ditto, but larger

M 11 in the Scutum cloud, a special section of the Milky Way
The moon appeared after 9 p.m., before that the Milky Way was good to see
PS 72/432, LT binoculars, TS binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm
Sep 28 G: M 31, M 33
OC: M 11, IC 4665, M 8/NGC 6530, M 39, M 52
GNE: M 8/NGC 6530
Cassiopeia: Came across NGC 663 again and again (also with the TS bino); M 52 probably found, seemed rather small (12'); nothing else found in Cassiopeia

Andromeda: M 31 seen (TS, LT, PS72)

Triangulum: M 33 probably guessed in PS72 and LT; very faint glow, framed by stars; rather large (50')

Scutum: M 11 found again (PS, TS, and LT)

Aquila: Further OC found there (LT, TS, PS72), probably IC 4665, because found and visible with binoculars as well:

  • Sagittarius: Close to Saturn saw M 8 with OC NGC 6530 (probably only seen the OC)
  • Cygnus: Seen OC above Deneb (PS72 and LT/TS), obviously M 39

The waning moon made the Milky Way slowly disappear again
Sagittarius: OC with glow on the left side close to Saturn; obviously, this was M 8 (Lagoon Nebula) with OC NGC 6530; the glow was, according to SkySafari a very bright spot; basically, I just saw stars, that is NGC 6530, and not the nebula M 8...
Cygnus: Seen OC above Deneb (like a triangle); I first assumed that it was NGC 6996, according to SkySafari in the mid of a nebula cloud close to NGC 7000 -> but actually, it was M 39
PS 72/432, LT binoculars, TS binoculars UWA 4, 7, 16 mm, WA 24 mm
Oct 4 G: M 31, M 33
GC: M 2, M 15
OC: M 103, NGC 663, M 52, NGC 457, St 2 (Muscle Man), Mel 20, NGC 884/869, M 45, M 11, M 17/NGC 6618 (Omega Nebula), M 16/IC 4703 (Eagle Nebula)
Cassiopeia: M 103 (3-4 stars), NGC 663, M 52 (seen better this time), NGC 457, St 2; not found: NGC 654, 559?

Perseus: NGC 884/869, Mel 20

Andromeda: M 31 seen beautifully, the glow was larger this time

Triangulum: M 33 seen better, nevertheless a faint glow...

Taurus: M 45 seen beautifully, with TS und OM21 binos as well

Pegasus: M 15 seen well

Aquarius: M 2 seen even better than M 15

Scutum: M 11 seen with 24 mm just a glow, with 7 mm and 4 mm resolved into stars

Close to Saturn: Saw a glow above Saturn, then saw two OCs, one of them with a glow:

  • Sagittarius: M 17, saw a glow and a star cluster (no nebula filter)
  • Serpens Caput: M 16, only seen the star cluster (nebula IC 4703 should only be visible with a filter)
  PS 72/432, TS binoculars, OM21 binoculars  
Oct 5 G: M 31
GC: M 134, M 92, M 56
OC: Cr 399, M 34, M 45, Mel 20
PN: M 57
GNE: M 27
Betz, Orion43: M 13, M 92, M 56, M 57, M 27, M 45

Sumène (TS and LT): M 31 (seen larger than ever...), M 34 (seen well, single stars), M 45, Mel 20, Cr 399)

Betz: Diverse telescopes; M 57 with hole at the center, M 27 large, globular star cluster M 13 resolved into stars, M 45 nice; also observed M 31 and M 45 in Betz with LT binoculars TS binoculars, LTbinoculars  
Oct 12 OC: M 11, M 25
PN: M 57
Lyra: M 57 up to 108 x/114 x, partly with a hole at the center at higher magnifications

Sagittarius: open, wide-spread cluster close to a yellow star, probably M 25

Scutum: nebula glow, divided in two parts at higher magnifications (see also Stoyan's image!), close to an oblique trapezium (Scutum, on top of Sagittarius) >> obviously M 11

Observations done in Mühlhausen beginning from Oct 12, 2018 PS 72/432 and 100P at low magnifications, partly also higher magnifications (28mm = 15,5 x for PS72; 24 mm = 16,67 x for 100P)
Oct 13, 2018 GC: M 13 Hercules: M 13 at various magnifications   PS 72/432 ???
Oct 14 OC: M 11, M 39
P: Cr 399
Scutum: M 11 (found using the trapezium)

Cygnus: M 39 (high up close to Deneb, wide-spread, large; also seen in binoculars)

Vulpecula: Cr 399

  PS 72/432, LT and TS binoculars ???
Nov 1 OC: M 11, Mel 20, NGC 663, NGC 884/869
G: M 31
P: St 2
Saturn in 24 and 10 eyepiece: good to see, but "wobbly" because low at the sky

Scutum: M 11 seen with 24/16/10 eyepieces; at 24 mm (62,5 x) still more like a nebula, from 16 mm on (93,75 x) more stars to see, no longer like a nebula; 150 x at maximum; TS: glow, two stars at its side

Andromeda: M 31 (TS)

Perseus: Mel 20 (TS), NGC 884/869 (TS)

Cassiopeia: NGC 663 seen at different magnifications and in TS binoculars; St 2 seen perhaps in TS binoculars - probably seen, but not recognized …

M11: found with TS using the end stars of constellation Aquila (arc) and confirmed with the "trapezium" Skymax-127; TS binoculars 32, 24, 16, 10 mm
Nov 11 OC: M 11, M 45, Mel 20, Mel 25, NGC 884/869
GC: M 15
G: M 31
Scutum: M 11 with 24 mm eyepiece (SM127), but also larger; up to 100 x with 100P; with 24 mm nice glow; at higher magnifications less glow, more resolved into stars; also seen with TS binoculars; with LT binoculars just, later no more...

Pegasus: M 15 (100P, above cemetary) observed with 24 mm and 4mm eyepieces (= up to 100 x); comparatively small

Andromeda: M 31 (100P, above cemetary)

Perseus: NGC 884/869, Mel 20 (100P, above cemetary)

Taurus: M 45, Mel 25 (100P, above cemetary)

Astrid (LT): Perseus double cluster, Pleyades, Hyades, Mirfak Cluster, Coat Hanger Skymax-127, Heritage 100P, LT binoculars, TS binoculars 24 mm ... 4 mm
Nov 12 OC: M 11
PN: M 57
P: Cr 399
Scutum: M 11 (100P, TS); M 2 seen at different magnifications (100P, up to 100 x = 4 mm)

Lyra: M 57 (only briefly at diverse magnifications, no ring)

Vulpecula: Cr 399 (TS)

  Heritage 100P, TS binoculars ???
Nov 13 OC: M 11
G: M 31
Scutum: M 11 (100P, TS, LT)

Andromeda: M 31 (100P, LT)

  Heritage 100P, LT binoculars ???
Nov 16 OC: M 45
P: Cr 399
Vulcepula: Cr 399 with 28 mm > fine dots

Taurus: M 45 with 28 mm, 16 mm > nice

  PS72/432 28 mm, 16 mm
Nov 17 OC: M 45, Mel 25, NGC 884/869
P: Cr 399, St 2
Vulpecula: Cr 399

Perseus: NGC 884/869

Andromeda: St 2

Taurus: M 45, Mel 25



Bold: First observation during this observation period; all observations upt to Oct 5, 2018 in Sumène/Haute Loire (France), the remaining ones in Mühlhausen/Kraichgau (Germany) G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, P = star pattern


List of Observed Sky Objects

Object details can be obtained via the links to the relevant deep sky objects.

DSO Details
Name Constellation Type Bino* PS72 100P SM127 Remarks
zeta UMa Mizar Ursa Major DS   yes     pair seen well
M 52   Cassiopeia OC   yes     found after initial problems
NGC 457 Owl/E.T. Cluster Cassiopeia OC   yes     rather small, the eyes are seen best
M 103   Cassiopeia OC   yes     3-4 stars, recognized after initial problems
NGC 663   Cassiopeia OC TS yes   yes recognized well, a lot of small stars and star pairs
St 2 Muscle Man Cassiopeia OC TS? yes     found after initial problems
M 13 Hercules Cluster Hercules GC TS, OM21 yes     demo object; seen very well in Betz
M 92   Hercules GC   yes     Smaller than M 13, harder to find (for me); seen very well in Betz
epsilon Lyr Double Double Lyra DS TS, OM21 yes     seen as a pair in binoculars (no "double pair"), seen as "double pair" in the telescope from a magnification of 100 x on
M 57 Ring Nebula Lyra PN   yes yes   Seen in Sumène only at higher magnifications, thought it was a star at lower magnifications; seen well in Betz including the "hole"; in Mühlhausen also seen with 100P
M 56   Lyra GC   yes     seen only faintly
IC 4665   Ophiuchus OC TS, LT yes     visible also in binoculars
beta Cyg Albireo Cygnus DS TS, LT yes     nice color difference, leads the way to the Coat Hanger Cr 399
M 39   Cygnus OC TS, LT yes     close to the zenith, close to Deneb - a wide, triangular field of stars
Cr 399 Coat Hanger Vulpecula P TS, LT, OM21 yes yes   nearly better in binoculars than in the telescope; easy to find via Sagitta or Cygnus
M 27 Dumbbell Nebula Vulpecula PN   yes     seen well
M 71   Sagitta GC   yes     M 71 probably seen faintly
M 11 Wild Duck Cluster Scutum OC LT, TS yes yes yes visible also in binoculars; looks like two parts; in Mühlhausen found via a "trapezium"
M 16+IC4703 Eagle Nebula (OC: M 16/NGC 6611, GN: IC 4703) Serpens Cauda OC/GN   yes     M 16 denotes the star cluster, IC 4703 the surrounding GN
M 8/NGC 6523 Lagoon Nebula (OC: NGC 6530, GN: M 8/NGC 6523) Sagittarius OC/GN   yes     nowadays, M 8 denotes the GN named NGC 6523, Stoyan includes the OC NGC 6530 in M 8
M 25   Sagittarius OC   yes yes   open, wide-spread cluster close to a yellow star (probably M 25)
M17 Omega/Swan Nebula (GN: M 17/NGC 6618) Sagittarius GN   yes     saw a glow and a star cluster (no nebula filter)
M 15   Pegasus GC   yes yes   not as large as M 13; initially not recognized because I thought that it was a star
M 2   Aquarius GC   yes     seen even better than M 15
M 31 Andromeda Galaxy Andromeda G TS, LT, OM21 yes yes   in the North-East; seen large and bright as never before, particularly in binoculars
NGC 752   Andromeda OS PS 72/432 yes     large, many small stars
M 33   Triangulum G LT yes     only a very faint glow
NGC 884/869 Perseus Double Cluster Perseus OC TS, LT, OM21 yes yes   in the North-East; already seen with the naked eye
M 34   Perseus OC   yes     partly a glow, partly single stars
Mel 20 Alpha Persei Cluster, Mirfak Cluster Perseus OC TS, LT, OM21 yes     very nice, also with the naked eye
M 45 Pleiades/Seven Sisters Taurus OC TS, OM21 yes yes   seen beautifully (late)
Mel 25 Hyades Taurus OC     yes    

*) LT = 10 x 25 binoculars, TS = 10 x 60 binoculars; G = galaxy, OC = open star cluster, GC = globular star cluster, DS = double star, P = star pattern, GN = galactic nebula, PN = planetary nebula

Searched for, but not found: NGC 281 (GN), NGC 654 (OC), NGC 559 (OC)




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