FUZZY SPOT, September 2003, Lacerta
This month we will be covering the small lizard sticking his head in the Milky Way, Lacerta. Lacerta is one of the constellations created by Johannes Hevelius in the 17th century. Since it is mostly in the Autumn Milky Way, it mainly contains open clusters, some nice double stars, and a few planetary nebulae. However around his tail, which is out of the Milky Way, are some faint galaxies.
NGC 7209 (22 05.2 +46 30) This first open cluster is seen as very large, very bright, and not compressed in the 10" scope. There are about 4 levels of stars, many right at threshold of viewing, with a star count of about 75 stars plus 3 bright stars on the outskirts which are probably not members of the cluster. What really makes this cluster nice are the gorgeous strings. One of the strings on E side roams all over the place looking like a mini version of Eridanus.
NGC 7243 (22 15.3 +49 53) This cluster was seen in the 10" scope as very bright and not very condensed, sitting in a very rich field of the Milky Way. The cluster fills about 1/2 the field of view at 70X. There are 3 groups of stars with a dark space in the middle of the groups. I saw 4 levels of stars with 65 stars counted, depending on where you consider the edge of the cluster. Most of the stars are white. Within the cluster is a nice double star.
NGC 7245 (22 15.3 +54 20) I observed this cluster in the 20" scope as somewhat faint, pretty small, rich, and very condensed. There are 2 levels of faint stars plus a few bright foreground stars, for a total of 22 stars. 3 strings of stars radiate from a common point, which forms a very pleasant view.
NGC 7296 (22 28.2 +52 17) In the 10" scope, I saw this cluster as somewhat small and not too bright. There are 2 levels of stars plus 1 bright star, with a count of about 9 stars and some possible haze. In the 20" scope, it is pretty bright, somewhat small, fairly poor, slightly rich, and not detached. There are 3 levels of stars with about 25 stars counted. The brightest star in the cluster is to the W, with bright stars to the N and S of the cluster.
IC 1434 (22 10.5 +52 50) This is a surprisingly nice cluster for an IC object. In the 20" scope, it is very large, somewhat faint, pretty rich, pretty condensed, and slightly detached. There are 4 levels of stars with some haze and about 80 stars counted. The really nice feature of this object is a very nice long straight string running E/W.
IC 5217 (22 23.9 +50 57) This is one of the planetary nebula in Lacerta. Observed in the 20" scope, it is pretty bright and very small, almost stellar. It sits in a nice star field with neighbors to compare both magnitude and size. Use an O-III or UHC filter to help find this object by blinking it. The filter perhaps brings out a faint shell, but I was not very sure. Also, I suspected the central star without the filter.
PK 102-2.1 (22 26.3 +54 49) This last object is a tough planetary nebula in the 20" scope. It is very very faint, pretty large, and seen only with O-III filter. I was able to hold it solid with averted vision but only about 50% of the time with direct vision. There are 2 nice guide stars to direct you to the nebula.
Herschel 400 Objects
7209, 7243, 7296
SACs 110 Best of the NGC Objects