In Episode SH033 of Star Hopping…
We’ll be exploring the Scutum region, and we’ll use our star hopping methods to find three top-notch deep sky objects. We’ll find the Wild Duck Cluster (Messier 11), the Eagle Nebula (Messier 16), and the Swan Nebula (Messier 17).
Well looking forward to the end of this month of May, we are starting to see some amazing deep sky objects rising above the eastern horizon. The globular clusters of spring are starting to give way to the nebulae of summer, although there are still loads of globulars available for us to check out with our telescopes.
Very late in the evening you can see the stars of summer low in the east. Last week we talked about some great targets in the constellation of Scorpius, and we will turn our gaze eastward from Scorpius to the smaller constellation of Scutum the Shield. Scutum has the distinction of being centered over a bright knot in the Milky Way, known as the Scutum Star Cloud. So as you would expect this area is loaded with star clusters and other deep sky objects. To the immediate right of Scutum is the collection of amazing nebulae in northern Sagittarius, and to Scutum’s left lies the constellation of Aquila the Eagle, with it’s bright star Altair. Altair is one of the corners of the Summer Triangle, that we discussed in Episode 3 of Star Hopping.
In the center of the Scutum Star Cloud lies one of the prettiest open clusters you will ever see, and we’ll check it out right after this…
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Credits for this Episode
- Star Chart Images & Simulations Courtesy of SkySafari Astronomy http://SkySafariAstronomy.com.
- M11 image by Dave Hearn / Kissimmee Park Observatory
- M16 image by MacDonald Observatory
- M17 image by ESO