Ryukyu Astronomy Club Messier Observation Log

Name: Mike Swanson

Some of these observations are dated before the eligibility date of February 23, 2002, but are presented here for comparison with other observations made under different circumstances or with different equipment. Most observations are from the patio at my house - an area with fairly bad light pollution.

Equipment:
NexStar 11 GPS - 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain, computerized GoTo telescope
NexStar 80 GT - 80mm refractor, computerized GoTo telescope
Tasco 60mm refractor on alt-az mount
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Messier 2 - NGC 7089 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 11/10/01, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 80 GT - 80mm refractor
Comments: Quite impressive as it is located in a relatively "empty" section of the sky.
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Impressive at 224x (12.5mm Ultima). Easy to resolve, very dense, fairly large.

Messier 3 - NGC 5272 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Wow!!! Easily resolved stars all across the cluster in an 18mm Ultima eyepiece (224x). The thing I like about GCs is that they look as if they should be flying apart, but they appear frozen in time.

Messier 4 - NGC 6121 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very loose GC, just fits in FOV of 18mm. Would be spectacular on a wider field of view at a dark site.

Messier 5 - NGC 5904 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 5/19/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Wow! Easily resolved. Not a compact GC. Ragged, irregular shape, quite wide.

Messier 6 - NGC 6405 Butterfly Cluster - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: One of my favorite OCs in the NexStar 80 due to the many bright stars. N11 shows many additional fainter stars giving it a more full look that spills to the edge of the field of view. Look for the bright gold, almost red star on the edge of the cluster.

Messier 7 - NGC 6475 Ptolemy╣s Cluster - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Another great open cluster for small scopes and wide-field views. Many white/blue stars. Watch for the large triangular outline in the center - made up of about 10 stars.

Messier 8 - NGC 6523 Lagoon Nebula - Diffuse Nebula
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Sort of fan-shaped, could only see extension to about 8 arcmin when using averted vision. Center fairly bright with "lagoon" faintly visible, even with direct vision.

Messier 9 - NGC 6333 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very small and faint, averted vision just brings some granularity.

Messier 10 - NGC 6254 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Wide, loose, ragged shape. Easy to resolve stars.

Messier 11 - NGC 6705 Wild Duck Cluster - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Wow! Very impressive in N11 - well over 100 faint stars, even with 12 day old Moon and local light pollution.

Messier 12 - NGC 6218 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Ragged, loose, easy to resolve. Both M12 and its neighbor M10 need dark, clear skies to really shine.

Messier 13 - NGC 6205 Hercules Globular Cluster - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 8/17/94, apartment in Oyama
Equipment Used: Tasco 60mm refractor
Comments: Very hazy, but definitely there. My first look at a deep sky object!
* Date Observed: 6/23/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Huge! Stars easily resolved all across. Gave the appearance of having arms coming nearly straight out.

Messier 14 - NGC 6402 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Just barely detectable.

Messier 15 - NGC 7078 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 11/10/01, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 80 GT
Comments: Very tight star-like object with a faint halo when viewed at 16x. 40x started to show a more "fuzzy" appearance. 80x started to show a more granular cluster appearance.
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very nice, small, compact GC. Seems to have 3 pronounced regions of brighter stars look like rays extending at the 1, 4 and 7 o'clock positions.

Messier 16 - NGC 6611 Eagle Nebula Cluster - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Too near the Moon to show nebulosity, just a splattering of stars.

Messier 18 - NGC 6613 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: About 20 bright stars near a very bright Moon.

Messier 19 - NGC 6273 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Small, faint, well defined. Some stars faintly resolved with averted vision.

Messier 20 - NGC 6514 Trifid Nebula - Diffuse Nebula
* Date Observed: 7/13/02, Maeda Point - much darker skies than home. This was July RAC Meeting.
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Faint, but pretty. The southern sky was competing with Naha, Urasoe and Ginowan's skyglow. At this disadvantage, looked best in 23mm Axiom eyepiece. Dark lanes that split the nebula into three sections (thus "Trifid") were distinctly visible.

Messier 21 - NGC 6531 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Brilliant white/blue stars, about 10, across a background of fainter stars. Looked good in 18mm Ultima.

Messier 22 - NGC 6656 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 8/26/94, Kadena Golf Course
Equipment Used: Tasco 60mm refractor
Comments: Clearly visible fuzzy ball with both 7mm and 25mm eyepieces.
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Huge! Easily 15 arcmin, larger than M13. Cleanly resolved clear across with milky background of unresolved stars in the core.

Messier 23 - NGC 6494 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: A lot of moderately bright stars across entire field of view in 18mm. 23mm Axiom (2/3░) showed a few more. Mostly brighter stars, not many fainter background stars visible.

Messier 24 - NGC 6603 Milky Way Patch - Star Cloud
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Just a bunch of stars embedded in a bunch of stars. :-) Must take a look with a wide-field scope at a dark site.

Messier 25 - IC 4725 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Good contrast - brighter yellow stars with many fainter white/blue stars scattered around a wide field.

Messier 26 - NGC 6694 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Small, contains mostly faint stars. Able to make out about 25 stars total.

Messier 27 - NGC 6853 Dumbbell Nebula - Planetary Nebula
* Date Observed: 11/10/01, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 80 GT
Comments: Just a smudge, but I was impressed it was so easily visible at an altitude of 30 with the skyglow and local lights. Visible at 16x and 40x - washed out at 80x.
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Huge in 18mm (156x). About 10 arcmin across, definite bow-tie shape. Contrast poor, stepped to lower magnifications but all produced the same fuzzy, low-contrast view. That's just the way M27 looks.

Messier 28 - NGC 6626 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very tight with well-defined core and just a hint of resolution of individual stars with averted vision.

Messier 29 - NGC 6913 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Nice. Several bright stars form two arcs curving away from the center and each other.

Messier 30 - NGC 7099 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Compact, able to resolve very faint stars across. Ragged appearance, square-shaped extended border on the north edge.

Messier 39 - NGC 7092 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: This is a wide one! Many bright stars scattered across more than 1/2░. Would look nice in the N80.

Messier 40 - Winecke 4 - Double Star
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Double star, very wide separationů

Messier 41 - NGC 2287 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 2/27/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Bright, scattered open cluster.

Messier 44 - NGC 2632 Beehive Cluster (Praesepe) - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 3/9/02, Camp Lester, terrible transparency
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS and NexStar 80 GT
Comments: Large, many bright stars in this loose open cluster. Looked good in NexStar 80 due to size and brightness.

Messier 46 - NGC 2437 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 2/27/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very nice, especially considering the full moon. About 1/2 degree, better than 50 stars.

Messier 47 - NGC 2422 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 2/27/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very bright stars, scattered open cluster covering about 1/2 degree.

Messier 49 - NGC 4472 - Elliptical Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Diffuse, averted vision shows it to be oblong in shape with a slightly brighter core.

Messier 51 - NGC 5194 Whirlpool Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 7/13/02, Maeda Point, much darker than home.
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Core of both M51 and companion very bright with some definition in spiral arms and bridge between two galaxies visible.

Messier 52 - NGC 7654 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very nice. About 10' of moderately bright stars and additional fainter ones.

Messier 53 - NGC 5024 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Wow! Faint, but distinct after the run of galaxies viewed just prior.

Messier 55 - NGC 6809 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Large cluster of faint stars, easily resolved. More than 10 arcmin across. The most prominent stars of the cluster give the impression of a pentagon.

Messier 56 - NGC 6779 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Faint, but barely resolved with averted vision. Seemed a little ragged, maybe due to all the field stars.

Messier 57 - NGC 6720 Ring Nebula - Planetary Nebula
* Date Observed: 6/23/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Well defined smokey ring. Slight bumps on outside of ring on opposite sides.
* Date Observed: 8/13/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very rare view of the Ring Nebula. Appeared to have a blue-green tint. Knots and other texture clearly visible around the ring, 2 outside lobes easily visible. Nearly at zenith.

Messier 60 - NGC 4649 - Elliptical Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Stellar-like core, with surrounding disk quickly fading out into the inky background.

Messier 62 - NGC 6266 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 7/21/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Distinct, but small and unable to resolve any individual stars.

Messier 63 - NGC 5055 Sunflower Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Low surface brightness, just visible.

Messier 64 - NGC 4826 Blackeye Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Bright core, fuzzy halo.

Messier 65 - NGC 3623 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very faint, oblong smudge - M66 was in the same field of view.

Messier 66 - NGC 3627 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very faint, oblong smudge - M65 was in the same field of view.

Messier 67 - NGC 2682 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 3/9/02, Camp Lester
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Nice open cluster, more than 50 brighter stars, wider than 20 arcminutes. Many more fainter stars. This would be a knockout at a dark site.

Messier 68 - NGC 4590 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 5/19/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very faint, positioned over/in Naha's light dome. Need to visit again under dark skies.

Messier 71 - NGC 6838 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Dispersed stars, almost looks like an open cluster.

Messier 72 - NGC 6981 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very faint, just able to detect 2 bright stars to right (west) aided by averted vision. TheSky shows them to be magnitude 9 and 11 foreground stars.

Messier 74 - NGC 628 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Three of the stars form a nearly equilateral triangle with the fourth star off of one tip.

Messier 75 - NGC 6864 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 9/28/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very small, well-defined core, fading gradually outward. Mottled appearance.

Messier 76 - NGC 650 Little Dumbbell, Cork, Butterfly Nebula - Planetary Nebula
* Date Observed: 10/12/02, Avila Hotel on Zampa Cape, much darker than home
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Small, smokey patch, dumbbell shaped.

Messier 80 - NGC 6093 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Small, bright core fading markedly towards edge. Many stars resolved.

Messier 81 - NGC 3031 Bode╣s Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Core very apparent with slight extensions, not too impressive with the light pollution

Messier 82 - NGC 3034 Cigar Galaxy - Irregular Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Fainter than nearby M81, but M82 is more evenly bright so it appears larger in size.

Messier 83 - NGC 5236 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/19/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Mostly just the core with a slight surrounding nebulosity with averted vision.

Messier 84 - NGC 4374 - Lenticular (S0) Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Faint, almost stellar in appearance.

Messier 85 - NGC 4382 - Lenticular (S0) Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: It was there, but I would never have found it with out GoTo.

Messier 86 - NGC 4406 - Lenticular (S0) Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Fainter magnitude than M85, but a little easier as it is more compact. A magnitude 8-9 star nearby aids with using averted vision (focus on the star and the galaxy is more distinct).

Messier 87 - NGC 4486 Virgo A - Elliptical Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Faint circular smudge.

Messier 92 - NGC 6341 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/23/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Compact, well-defined, easily resolved across.

Messier 94 - NGC 4736 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Sizable bright core with slightly off-center halo.

Messier 96 - NGC 3368 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Just visible, very, very faint

Messier 100 - NGC 4321 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Oblong core easily visible - disk washed out by light pollution.

Messier 102 - NGC 5866 Spindle Galaxy - Lenticular (S0) Galaxy
* Date Observed: 6/23/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Just a faint, oblong, fuzzy patch. Too much light from the ground and the nearly full moon.

Messier 103 - NGC 581 - Open Cluster
* Date Observed: 10/12/02, Avila Hotel on Zampa Cape, much darker than home
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Many faint stars, seems to be very distant.

Messier 104 - NGC 4594 Sombrero Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Bright core, tapered ends showing the edge-on disk of this large spiral galaxy.

Messier 105 - NGC 3379 - Elliptical Galaxy
* Date Observed: 4/5/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Very faint, but compact with a star-like core. Lost of other fuzzies in the area, for example NGC 3384, another galaxy, was seen in the same field of view.

Messier 107 - NGC 6171 - Globular Cluster
* Date Observed: 6/29/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Extremely faint, just able to detect a faint patch.

Messier 108 - NGC 3556 - Spiral Galaxy
* Date Observed: 5/26/02, patio at house in Chatan
Equipment Used: NexStar 11 GPS
Comments: Barely visible when moving scope and using averted vision.