FUZZY SPOT, July 2000, Hercules
Hercules, the demigod or strongman, is the offspring of the great Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. As a result of this affair, Zeus' wife, Hera, resolved to make Hercules' life miserable by casting him under a spell of madness. During this time, he committed the crime for which he was condemned to perform the Twelve Labors.
Many try to make the connection of the 12 signs of the zodiac with the Twelve Labors, but this is incorrect as both were developed independently. Likewise, there is no connection with Hercules and Gilgamesh of the Babylonian time, as Hercules was created much later during the Greek time period.
Hercules is well populated with galaxies, but with its position closer to the summer Milky Way than Virgo, planetary nebulae, globular clusters, and even a few sparse open clusters are present. In fact, the most famous object in the constellation is M-13, the great globular cluster. M-92, though not as spectacular or famous as its cousin, is a beauty in its own right.
NGC 6058 (16h04.4 +40 41) Our first object this month is a planetary nebula. I saw it as pretty faint, pretty small, round, and sitting in the middle of a triangle of stars. There is possibly a star involved on the E end. It does respond somewhat to the UHC filter, and using averted vision helps a little. The central star was suspected with a dark area around it.
NGC 6166 (16h28.7 +39 34) This very faint galaxy, which is not plotted on Sky Atlas 200, sits in a small half-circle of stars. It is faint enough that I couldn't make out any detail in the 10" scope. In larger aperture scopes, many faint companion galaxies can be glimpsed.
NGC 6205 (16h41.7 +36 28) M-13 is a beauty, whether you look at it through binoculars, in a small scope, or in a large light bucket. I have always liked the way it looks in binoculars with the 2 neighbor stars. In the city, I often think binoculars does it more justice than a scope does. In the 10" scope, it is very bright, very large, with 5 strings noticed. Many many stars are observed and using averted vision brings out tons more. I estimated 100 stars with direct vision. The very granular haze is evenly round, brightening up quite a bit to the middle.
NGC 6207 (16h43.1 +36 50) This galaxy is a neighbor to M-13. At 140X, I saw it as somewhat small, somewhat faint, very elongated NE/SW, and containing a very definite sub-stellar nucleus. Using averted vision made it grow quite a bit. If you want a real tough object, look for IC-4617 about halfway between M-13 and 6207. It sits right next to a faint parallelogram of stars. I could not find it in the 10" scope, but did spot it in the 20" scope with averted vision.
NGC 6210 (16h44.5 +23 49) This planetary was observed at 350X as pretty small, pretty bright, elongated E/W with a very definite blue tinge to it. The halo is subtle at best. The UHC filter brings out the halo only slightly, add averted vision to this and the object grows quite a bit.
NGC 6229 (16h47.0 +47 32) Forming a nice triangle with 2 bright stars, this globular cluster is somewhat small, fairly bright, round, and brighter towards the middle. I couldn't resolve any stars, but the background is grainy. Increasing the power to 250X and using averted vision possibly resolves a few stars around the edge.
NGC 6239 (16h50.1 +42 43) This faint and pretty small galaxy is elongated 2:1 NW/SE and has a very faint halo which slowly brightens up to the middle. Using averted vision helps bring out the galaxy a little.
NGC 6341 (17h17.1 +43 08) The final object of the night is globular cluster M-92. It is pretty large, pretty bright, with 5 nice strings of stars. Unlike most globular clusters, this one is slightly elongated N/S. The granular halo gradually brightens up to a bright middle. There are many stars resolved over both halo and middle, estimating 100 stars with direct vision.
Herschel 400 Objects
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects