FUZZY SPOT, August 2000, Cygnus
One of the birds of the night sky, Cygnus, the swan, is a large and beautiful constellation sitting on the summer Milky Way. The other common name for this constellation is the Northern Cross, although this time of year the cross is lying on it's side.
As we look at Cygnus, we are looking down our own arm of the Milky Way (the Orion Arm) and therefore see many rich objects. Open clusters abound here as do emission and planetary nebulae. Don't forget the beautiful double star Alberio which is the head of the swan. It is a color contrasting set which rivals any other double in the sky.
NGC 6811 (19h38.2 +46 34) This open cluster is somewhat bright, very large, rich, and somewhat condensed. I saw 2 levels of stars with about 70 stars counted. There are some real nice arcs and chains with several prominent arcs, one going W from the cluster and another heading NNE. The remaining stars are in groups of 3. Within the cluster itself, there is a group of stars on the W, one on the N, one on the E, and a smaller one on the S. The E and S groups form more patterns than distinct groupings. The more I look at this object, the more I like it.
NGC 6826 (19h44.8 +50 31) The Blinking Planetary was seen in the 10" scope as very bright, very small, no detail at all powers, and kind of green/blue in color. The central star was noticed, especially with averted vision. This is the blinking effect, you look directly at the star and the nebula disappears, use averted vision and the nebula "blinks" in view.
NGC 6834 (19h52.2 +29 25) This little open cluster is somewhat bright and a little condensed. There is a string of 5 stars across the middle running E/W with the middle star being somewhat yellow. Ignoring the string, the cluster is somewhat round with 2 levels of stars and with a total of 17 stars over some possible haze. On SW side is a nice little grouping of 5 stars. This cluster has a very nice unusual shape.
NGC 6866 (20h03.7
+44 00) Another small cluster, this one is pretty bright
and somewhat concentrated. The central area has about 15
bright stars, some streamers going away from it, and a couple of
other groupings. There is a total of 20-25 stars with
patterns in 4 groupings.
NGC 6888 (20h12.8 +38 20) One of my favorite objects in the sky, the Crescent Nebula was seen as very large, somewhat bright with the UHC filter and somewhat faint without the filter. This unusual object is kind of kidney-bean shaped. At the N is a large trapezium of stars. The nebula is brightest near the NW star and radiates SW. The center of trapezium is darker, with the nebula forming a sort of ring connecting the stars. The whole nebula continues S, but gets quite a bit fainter. Very spectacular and beautiful object, but hard to describe.
NGC 6960/6974 (20h45.6 +30 43) If the last nebula wasn't enough for you, the awsome Veil Nebula will knock you socks off. This is the western portion of the nebula, and can be seen at low powers without any filters as a very subtle wisp, extending away from the foreground star. Using a UHC filter, the north portion is very obvious while the south side is not quite as obvious, but lots of detail can seen. 6974 is very subtle even with the filter.
NGC 6992/6995 (20h56.3 +31 42) The eastern portion of the Veil is brighter, and can be seen in 10x50 binoculars. In the scope, it is pretty obvious and pretty bright even without the filter and is seen as a large arc. With the filter, the S end extends quite a bit inward (W). This is a very very gorgeous object.
NGC 7000 (20h58.8 +44 20) The North American Nebula is a very large object that can be seen naked eye as a slightly brighter part of the sky. Use the lowest possible power you can for this object. At 35X, it was barely visible without filter, but putting the UHC filter in really made it pop out, especially the "Caribbean sea", absolutely beautiful. The Pacific side of the continent is not as obvious. Its neighbor, the Pelican nebula (IC 5067-5070) also shows up, but the shape is not discernible. Actually, the North American and the Pelican are part of the same nebula, separated by a foreground dark nebula.
NGC 7008 (21h00.6 +54 33) This is a tough planetary to get to. I saw it as somewhat bright and pretty large for a planetary. There is a double star to the S of the nebula, and a star on the E side is involved. The central star is faintly seen. The nebula is somewhat elongated N/W and slightly annular. Now my notes get confusing, first I say the brightest part on the E, then I say the N is brightest and the E is faint. The nebula does respond somewhat to UHC filter, but shows only a little bit of texture.
NGC 7044 (21h12.9 +42 29) The final object is an open cluster which is fairly large and pretty faint. A bright star is on the edge, with 11 stars over a very definite haze. Using averted vision brings out a lot of speckling in the haze which is best described as many threshold stars over a granular haze. I estimated that 20-50 stars pop out with averted vision.
Herschel 400 Objects
6826, 6834, 6866, 6910, 7000, 7008, 7044, 7062, 7086, 7128
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects
6819, 6826, 6960, 6992, 7000, 7027