FUZZY SPOT, July 1998, Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus is responsible for holding the Serpent safely in the sky and keeping him from striking down on all of us.  Ophiuchus contains several unique properties in the sky.  It is responsible for splitting the constellation Serpens into two parts, it is the only non-zodiacal constellation that the ecliptic passes through, and the “western” arm of the visible Milky Way is pinched off by the great rift in Ophiuchus.

With the Spring skies with their galaxies behind us, Ophiuchus brings us into the summer skies.  This area is globular country.  The SAC database lists 24 clusters, only exceeded by Sagittarius with 30.  There are 7 Messier Globulars, 13 Herschel 400 Globulars, but surprisingly no SAC 110 Best of the NGC clusters.

So lets jump into these globulars, and throw in a few planetary nebulae and open clusters for variety.

        NGC 6171 (16h32.5 -13 03) A double whammy, you get a Messier object (M-107) along with the Herschel-400 Globular.  This object is pretty big, pretty bright, with about 50 stars resolved over a very granular haze.  There is not a lot of brightening or condensation toward the middle, but there is a possible elongation E/W.  There is a real nice star pattern forming a sort of cross around the cluster.

        NGC 6235 (16h53.4 -22 11) This globular was seen as somewhat large, little faint, and is enclosed in a nice triangle of stars which points WSW.  There is a brighter center over a fairly faint halo which grows with averted vision.  The globular is slightly granular but I was unable to resolve any stars.

        NGC 6284 (17h04.5 -24 46) A slightly small globular which is fairly bright, contains much brighter middle which seems to be on the N side.  Use averted vision to make it grow slightly and help bring out very granular detail.

        NGC 6287 (17h05.2 -22 42) Here is a very obvious globular.  It is fairly bright, contains a bright center and a fainter halo elongated NE/SW/  The core is offset to N side of halo.  There were no stars resolved, but averted vision makes the globular appear granular.  Take note of several faint stars to W.

        NGC 6293 (17h10.2 -26 35) This globular is somewhat large, pretty bright, contains a very bright middle and a fairly bright halo.  Some stars are resolved, particularly in the middle/halo boundary, and perhaps a few more in the halo.  Using averted vision, I estimated I resolved about 20 stars.  The background is granular with the halo showing the most granularity.

        NGC 6304 (17h14.5 -29 28) A globular cluster that is somewhat large, somewhat bright, and contains a very granular and triangular shaped middle.  The cluster fades out slowly then suddenly to a pretty large and round halo which is faint enough that I can’t determine any granularity.  I was able to occasionally resolve stars in the middle, but was unable to hold them.

        NGC 6316 (17h16.6 -28 08) Yet another globular cluster, this one is pretty bright, pretty small, round (as most globulars are).  In brightness, this one has a smooth center then sudden drop to an even halo.  There is perhaps some very slightly granularity, but I was unable to resolve any stars.

        NGC 6355 (17h24.0 -26 21) The last globular of the month, the one is pretty small, somewhat faint, wit a round halo, but the middle is elongated N/S.  I was unable to resolve any stars, nor even note any granularity either in the middle or on the outskirts.  At 170x, I was only able to suspect some granularity at best.  Probably the poorest globular in this column.

        NGC 6369 (17h29.3 -23 46) Finally a break from globulars, this planetary is pretty bright, but not very big.  At 140x I saw an even glow, with some anularity seen using  averted vision.  There is a bright star to S, but the central star was not seen.  Using the UHC filter  does not do much.

        NGC 6572 (18h12.1 +06 51) This planetary nebula is very bright, pretty small, and shows a definite bluish tinge to it.  Cranking up the power to 240x shows an even glow with possible elongation N/S, quite bright for this power.  Averted vision doesn’t help much at any power.

        NGC 6633 (18h27.7 +06 34) Here is an open cluster which required low power.  At 45x, I saw it as very bright, very large filling the field of view.  There are some nice curving strings of stars in this cluster.  By the way, this observation was taken from my light polluted back yard.

        IC 4665 (17h46.3 +05 43)  Break out the lowest power eyepiece you have for this open cluster.  Better yet, take a break, kick back on your lounge chair and look at this cluster with binoculars.  At 35x (in the scope), I considered this cluster as very large, very bright, extremely loose, and somewhat poor.  I counted 70 stars in 3 levels of with the brightest level being very equal and making up the bulk of the cluster.  There is not much of a shape, so I considered it as irregularly round.

Herschel 400 Objects
6171, 6235, 6284, 6287, 6293, 6304, 6316, 6342, 6355, 6356, 6369, 6401, 6426, 6517, 6633
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects
6369, 6572, 6633