FUZZY SPOT,  September 2001, Sagitta

Sagitta is a small constellation, only Crux and Equuleus are small. Though the constellation is small and faint, its star pattern is very distinct, and an arrow can easily be made out.  Despite its small size, it holds one of the Messier Objects (M-71), but beyond this most of the objects are faint and poor.  So hope for a good clear, transparent night, relax and get refreshed, and get well dark adapted to get the most out of this constellation.

For a change, I'll start out with the poorest objects and work my way up to the brightest object.  Therefore, these are not in RA order.

        Pal 10 (19h18.2 +18 34)  This small faint globular cluster is probably the toughest object in Sagitta.  I've searched for it many times in both in the 10" and 20" scopes, and at best suspected it with averted vision in each. There is a string of 5 stars to the S of the cluster which run ENE/WSW.  Be sure and bring out a detailed star printout of this area to make sure you are looking in the right spot.

        SH2-84 (19h49.0 +18 24) This nebula is tough, I suspected it in the 10" scope and saw it in the 20" scope with the UHC filter as very faint, pretty large, and with no detail.  It was seen solidly with hood.  Using an O-III filter did not help (stick with the UHC), and increasing the power to 180X made it disappear.

        SH2-82 (19h30.3 +18 16) This nebula is the first object on this list that I definitely saw in the 20" scope (I haven't looked for it in the 10" scope yet).  At 115X, it was very faint and pretty large. The filters do not help at all with this object.  By using a hood and moving the scope slightly, I could see an amorphous glow around a mag 10 star, using averted vision did make the object grow.

        H-20 (19h53.1 +18 20) This open cluster sits just south of M-71  In the 10" scope there are 2 bright stars and about 1 dozen fainter stars.  In the 20" scope, it is not much, somewhat large, somewhat bright, extremely poor, and extremely loose.  There are 3 levels of stars with 2 bright stars on the edge, 8 stars on 2nd level and 15 more on 3rd level with a total of about 25 stars.  With the cluster not being detached from the Milky Way, it is very difficult to tell where the object ends.

        NGC 6886 (20h10.5 +16 55)  Getting into the NGC objects, I found this planetary nebula in the 20" scope using the O-III filter.  At 450X, it is not quite stellar, just slightly larger than the stars.  White in color, it sits at the right angle of triangle of stars which including a nice yellow star.

        NGC 6879 (20h10.5 +16 55)  The second NCG planetary nebula (Uranometria also lists 6 additional planetary nebula, all PK objects) was seen in the 10" scope in a group of 4 stars, arranged like Corvus.  The planetary was detected because it did not twinkle like the other three stars.  At 160X, it was still seen as stellar.  In the 20" scope, I found it after much futzing with the Telrad and filters and such.  It was seen as somewhat bright, stellar, and only detectable with O-III filter.  I saw no color and no size all they way up to 450X.

        H N 84 (19h39.4 +16 34)  I don't usually cover double stars (I leave those for Thad), but the beauty of this pair just couldn't be passed by.  It is a very nice yellow/orange and blue color contrasting double star with a very wide separation.  One of the best double's I've seen, it can easily rival Alberio.

        NGC 6838  (19h53.8 +18 47)  Finally we're to the crown jewel of Sagitta, M-71.  In both scopes, it is a triangular or arrowhead shaped globular cluster pointing WSW with 20 to 35 stars resolved over a quite granular haze.  This is probably the most unusual shaped globular cluster that I have observed.  This cluster has long been debated as whether it is a loose globular or a very rich open cluster.  The spectrum of stars finally convinced the authorities that it is a globular.

Herschel 400 Objects
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects