FUZZY SPOT, September 2000, Scutum
Scutum is a small constellation in the summer Milky Way. The original name given by Hevelius was Scutum Sobiescianum (Sobieski's Shield), but was shortened to Scutum by Flamsteed, both to make the name more accessible, and to avoid favoring certain kings (John III Sobieski, the king of Poland).
Although small in area, the bright Scutum Star Cloud sits squarely in the constellation, and is rich with open clusters and dark nebulae, although there are some globular clusters and planetary nebulae here too.
NGC 6649 (18h33.5 -10 24) The first cluster of the month is fairly bright, fairly large, poor, and somewhat loose. I saw 3 levels of stars with no haze and was able resolve about 20 stars. The object is in a 5 sided shape, and sitting in a baron spot really makes it stand out.
NGC 6664 (18h36.7 -08 13) This very large, very bright open cluster has 5 levels of stars against a fairly hazy and granular background. I counted 41 stars with the brightest stars forming a U shape opening to the S. There is a bright star immediately to W. This nice big cluster is also visible in binoculars.
NGC 6694 (18h45.2 -09 24) M-26 is an open cluster which is somewhat small, moderately bright, and somewhat poor. I counted about 15 stars, 2 of them fairly bright, in 4 levels. There is a very nice curving chain on WNW side.
NGC 6704 (18h50.9 -05 12) Guess what? Another open cluster. This one is a little bright, somewhat large, pretty and rich, pretty condensed. The stars are not real bright, in 2 or 3 levels over a somewhat granular haze with 25 stars counted, many more pop out with averted vision. On the W side is a prominent clump of stars. A real nice string of stars arc out to the N, then E and S, almost spiraling around the cluster, forming a very nice shape.
NGC 6705 (18h51.1 -06 16) M-11 is the crown jewel in Scutum, and considered by many as the best open cluster in the sky. Known as the "Wild Duck" cluster, the stars are supposed to form a `V' shape pointing to the E, although I never could make that shape out. I considered it as pretty large, extremely rich, very bright, pretty well condensed. There is 1 bright star in middle and 2 levels of stars around the bright central star. I approximated that 80-100 stars were visible in the 10" scope, with most of stars W of the bright central star. I also noticed 2 star poor areas and 2 fairly bright stars to SE.
NGC 6712 (18h53.1 -08 42) Taking a break from open clusters, this globular cluster is pretty large, round, and pretty bright. I could resolve about 20 stars with averted vision at the center of the cluster over a pretty granular haze.
Basel 1 (18h48.2 -05 51) Back to open clusters, now we are out of the NGC catalog. This cluster is somewhat bright, somewhat large, pretty poor, and slightly condensed. Since it is poorly detached, it does not stand out very well from the background stars. There are 3 levels of stars and a small amount of haze with a total of 18 stars counted. The cluster sits in the middle of a dipper asterism.
Tr 35 (18h42.9 -04 08) Our last open cluster, from the Trumpler catalog, is somewhat faint, somewhat large, fairly poor, and slightly condensed. There are 20 stars in 3 levels with some possible haze. The primary stars form an arc which runs to the W then turns to the N.
IC 1295 (18h54.6 -08 50) The last object of the month is a planetary nebula, right next to globular cluster NGC 6712. It is virtually invisible without the UHC filter, but using the filter, it is just a little fainter the 6712. With averted vision it is round and possibly fainter in the middle. There are stars to W, E, and S. A nice object, unusual for an IC planetary to be this good.
Herschel 400 Objects
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects