M56 - This globular cluster is relatively dim at mag
8.3 and it's relatively small because of its distance. It's
estimated to be about 46,000 light years distant and spans some 60 light
M57 - This is perhaps the most famous of all planetary
nebulae. It's also one of the brightest at mag 8.8.
While you won't see the vibrant colors that photography reveals, from
dark sky, some report some color in
the "smoke ring".
M27 - If there's a planetary nebula more famous than
the Ring Nebula, this is it. M27 is also known as the
Dumbbell Nebula because of the distinctive dumbbell shape of the lobes
of gas in this planetary. M27 is
about mag 7.3 and is very large for a planetary at about 8' across.
M71 - This globular cluster in Sagitta is about mag
8.3 and lies about 12,000 light years away. It's a small
globular at only about 29 light years in diameter.
M11 - Also called the Wild Duck Cluster, this open cluster
is nice and bright at mag 5.8. It's estimated to be
about 6,200 light years away and has over 500 member stars spanning around
21 light years.
M26 - At mag 8.0 this cluster can be difficult to locate.
Its stars are not that bright and it's well camouflaged
by its Milky Way background. It's about 5,200 light years away and spans
some 21 light years.
M16 - This is the famous Eagle Nebula and the location
for the Hubble Space Telescope's famous Pillars of
Creation image. This object is officially a cluster with nebulosity and
is a favorite target of
astrophotographers. Visually some nebulosity can be seen from dark sky
and the surrounding clusters
frame the area where the eagle is located. M16 is estimated to be about
6,500 light years distant and about
70 light years across.
M17 - One of the best and brightest of the summer nebulae,
M17, also called the Omega Nebula and the
Swan Nebula is an object that deserves a lot of attention just as does
M42. It's estimated to be about 6,800
light years distant and spans around 70 light years.
M18 - Also called the Black Swan Cluster, M18 is a comparatively
unimpressive open cluster south of M17.
It has only about a dozen brighter members on a background of dimmer Milky
M25 - This mag 4.6 open cluster has about 50 members
and spans about 1/2°. It's about 3,200 light years distant and 30 light
M24 - Though classed in the Messier Catalog as an open
cluster this object is in fact a star cloud. It is
about 2° along its long axis and about 1° wide. This makes it an exceptional
binocular subject and it is most
impressive at those magnifications.
M55 - This globular cluster is bright at mag 5.4 and
comparatively large at 19' across. But it has a relatively
low surface brightness. Larger telescopes will begin to reveal more of
the core detail. It's about 13,500 light
years away and spans 95 light years.
M22 - This cluster is brighter and larger than M55 at
mag 5.1 and almost 1/2° across. This is larger and
brighter than even M13 but, because it's low on the southern horizon from
our latitude, it tends to be less
impressive than M13. It's about 9,600 light years distant and about 70
light years across.
M54 - This cluster is small at only about 9' across
and has a magnitude of 7.6. But it's compact and its core
is quite bright. In reality the cluster is larger than most but is very
distant at about 50,000 light years away
and about 188 light years in diameter.
M28 - This cluster is pretty average as globulars go,
M28 is mag 6.8 and about 11' across. It has a
compact core and lies about 19,000 light years away.
M70 - A dimmer globular cluster at mag 8.0 and only
about 8' across. It lies about 34,000 light years away.
M69 - Yet another dim globular at mag 7.6 and only 7'
across. Its distance is about 36,000 light years
M21 - This is a comparatively small open cluster of
about mag 6.9. It has only 55 or so member stars and
lies about 5,200 light years away.
M8 - This is the famous Lagoon Nebula; officially a
cluster with nebulosity. It is bright at mag 3.6 but it has
a relatively low surface brightness because of its large size; over 1°
across. Still, under truly dark sky, the
brighter segments of the nebula can be naked eye visible. This object,
along with M17 and M42 is an
inviting visual target because of the amount of visible detail. It is
about 5,000 light years away.
M20 - The brighter portion of this cluster with nebulosity
is the only part of the nebula that is visually
observable but it is a treat nevertheless. Look for the distinct dust
lanes that trisect the nebula.
Photographically this object blossoms as reflection nebulosity to the
north of the emission nebulosity creates
a beautiful contrast of blue to the emission nebula's red color. This
object is about 6,500 light years away.