Object name: M-42
Object type: Nebulosa brillante
Location: Pelayos de la Presa (Madrid) España
Date: 21-Dic-2014 Hora: 02:45 T.U:
Media: lápiz de grafito; A4 de 120 gr; difumino; procesado con GIMP 2.4
Equipo: Refractor Acromático Bresser Messier 152L 1200mm; F/7.8. Montura: HEQ5 Pro. Ocular: WO 2″ 25mm 48X.
Condiciones de observación: Cielo rural urbano con algo de viento y una magnitud límite de 6 a simple vista en el cenit; humedad del 70% aproximádamente
Object name: M-42
Object type: Bright Nebula
Location: Pelayo de la Presa (Madrid) Spain
Date: 21-Dec-2014 Time: 2:45 T.U:
Media: pencil graphite; A4 120 gr; stump; processed with GIMP 2.4
Team: Achromatic Refractor Bresser Messier 152L 1200mm; F / 7.8. Frame:. HEQ5 Pro Ocular: WO 2 “25mm 48X.
Conditions of observation: urban rural sky with some wind and a limiting magnitude of 6 to glance at the zenith; Approximately 70% humidity
This was the first sketch I completed at Astrofest in Queensland, Australia. I’ve been wanting to sketch this beautiful dark nebula ever since I first laid eye on it some three years ago. This dark nebula, B86, goes by the popular name of “The Ink Spot”. It sits smack bang in the centre of the densest star cloud in the whole sky, the Cloud of Sagittarius. And what sets it off even more is B86 has a gorgeous bright open cluster right next to it, NGC 6570. Both objects are more-or-less the same size as each other, even though both are not very large themselves. But it is the juxtaposition of these two very different objects against the blaze of the Milky Way that makes this pair a spectacular pairing.
Dark nebulae are clouds of dust and gas that are drifting through the Milky Way galaxy. Many of these conglomerations of dust and gas do end up being formed into stars and planets, but most just end up forming the fabric of the galaxy. In fact, the stars that we see actually only form a small percentage of the actual mass of galaxies. By far the greatest amount of a galaxy’s mass comes from this very dust and gas. The Ink Spot is a small patch of cloud. It is a very opaque nebula too. Dark nebulae are categorised according to their opacity, or how dark they are. The scale of opacity goes from 1 (very tenuous) through to 6 (very opaque). While the opacity of The Ink Spot may be a 5, it is because that it sits in the Cloud of Sagittarius that makes is a striking object.
The little open cluster NGC 6520 really works very well in setting off B86. Open clusters are groupings of stars that are all related to each other having been formed out of the same parent cloud of gas and dust. Evidence for this is seen in the spectra of the stars displaying the same chemical make up. The brothers and sisters of our own Sun have been identified this way, with the same chemical signature as our Sun having been identified in several close by stars even though the Sun’s ‘siblings’ have long drifted off away from each other. Open clusters are loose groupings, so even though they formed from the same source, their gravitational connection to each other is not strong enough to keep the group together for too long.
For me, this tiny patch of sky is one of my most favourite. Tiny and oh so precious. Brilliant, dark, stark, ghostly. All in one. Gorgeous.
Object: The Ink Spot, B86 & NGC 6570
Telescope: 17.5″ push-pull Karee dob
Gear: 13mm LVW, 154X
Location: Linville, Queensland, Australia
Date: 24th July, 2014
Media: Soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 3hrs
For the first time I send you one of my sketches. I sketched the Pipe Nebula a month ago at Hakos Guestfarm / Namibia. It’s the first finished of about 20 sketches I did during 6 nights.
Object Name: Pipe Nebula (made of lots of Barnard Dark Nebulae)
Object type: Dark Nebula
Location: Hakos Guestfarm, Namib Naukluft, Namibia
Date: June 2nd and 3rd, 2014 (two nights, about 4 hours total of sketching while nebula passed zenith)
Media: Pastel and graphite pencils
Optics: Fujinon 25×150 Binoculars
Field is about 7 degrees wide.To concentrate on object (and not on dimensions) I used a pattern of stars printed from Guide 9. Sketch is processed with Photshop to change appearance from Grey/White to Black/Grey. Pinpoint stars and Globular Clusters added by Photoshop (to replace printed and sketched stars)
A couple of weekends ago saw Ice In Space Astro Camp ’14 happen at Lostock in rural NSW, Australia. I arrived late on the Friday, and when I finally settled at the camp it was dark and I just didn’t feel like setting up a big scope. The sky was clear, the full brilliance of the Milky Way was arcing overhead, so it was a great chance for some wide field sketching with my little 4″ achro.
Some time ago I had made a mental note of a potential sketching target as being the area around the lovely cluster The Jewel Box in the Southern Cross. The great thing about this scope and eyepiece combination is the true field of view encompasses the Jewel Box, Mimosa or Beta Cruxius, and the western edge of the dark nebula The Coal Sack, all set off against the mottled background Milky Way. Gorgeous stuff!
The Coal Sack is also surprisingly detailed. Streamers of darker lines, patches of brighter, and ghostly arcs. These details made for a great challenge as they are, well, black… Another fainter open cluster can also be seen just to the upper right of the Jewel Box. The Southern Cross contains dozens of open clusters within its boarder.
This sketch is very close to showing the full 5deg True Field of View I had.
Object: Jewel Box and the Coal Sack.
Scope: 4″ f/5 achromatic refractor
Gear: 30mm 82deg Explore Scientific, 17X, 5deg TFOV.
Location: Lostock, NSW, Oz
Date: 25th April, 2014
Media: White soft pastel, charcoal and white ink on A4 size black paper.
Duration: approx. 2hrs
Object Name: The Homunculus. η Car. Keyhole Nebula. Carina Nebula.
Object Type: Bipolar nebula. Star. Dark Nebula. Emission Nebula.
Location: San Miguel, Buenos Aires Argentina.
Conditions: NELM 4.8-5.1. Good transparency, acceptable seeing. Moonset (Waxing Gibbous).
Date: 12/01/2014 3:30 am.
Media: 2H, HB, blend stump and PS.
Equipment: Meade LB 12″ on equatorial tracking platform. Plossl 10mm + x2 Barlow.
Hi ASOD! This time I’ve drawn the incredible Homunculus and the surrounding nebula along with the stars. As a beginner, the sketch was a challenge for me. I`m not sure if the Keyhole and Carina nebula are 100% correct because of the light from early summer sunrise. Anyway, the Homunculus was amazing with interior dust lanes and notches.
The evening of December 4th (morning of the 5th) was a beautiful night at one of my favorite spots 8 miles from my home on the road to Haleakala National Park. Very clear & very dark. I am finishing up my Planetary Nebula project with Astronomical League and at midnight decided to take a break & try for the Horsehead Nebula again while I was totally dark adapted. Last year I was elated to locate it from my driveway but didn’t sketch it at the time. This year I hoped from a darker location it would be even better, but I decided to just look and not get my hopes up.
After enjoying views of the Flame Nebula I placed Alnitak out of my field of view to the north. Using my 27mm & Narrow Pass Band filter I then placed NGC 2023 to the north inside my view and looked for the 2 – 10th & 13th magnitude guide stars to follow into the Horsehead.
I could see a dim dark patch with averted vision, hood over my head and an eyepatch on the opposite eye. After a short time I could make out the thumbprint of the head with some brightness around the rim and with longer observation a notch appeared to the NW. Some tiny stars also present themselves around the head as well as a linear brightness running N/S through IC 434. I then changed to a 20mm with h-beta filter and more light and dark details of IC 434 appeared, though overall it appeared darker. I got to work sketching & writing up details.
As I was finishing my sketch I heard a “whinnying” sound nearby. I froze because it sounded close and I was all alone. After a moment I realized its an app my daughter has on my iPad that makes horse sounds periodically. It just happened to do so while I was observing the “Horse”! I giggled and ended the night there. What could top that!
B33, IC 434, NGC 2023
Dark Nebula, Emission Nebula, Reflection Nebula
Haleakala Highway 6,000 ft el, Maui, Hawaii
12/5/13 12:00pm, 10:00 UTC
12.5” Portaball, h-Beta & NPB filters, 20mm 76x
Charcoal pencil, charcoal with brush technique, white paper
Inverted with Photoscape software
Object: 20 Trifid Nebula
Location: Mt. Nerone
Date 3rd Aug 2013
Pencil on white paper
This nebula is quite low at my latitude and thus is always submerged in the light pollution halo from cities in the south. This makes it a quite difficult object without a nebula filter. I have obtained the best results with an UHC-S filter. I also tried with an OIII filters which gives outstanding constrast on Lagoon Nebula, which is just nearby, but it is not the best for the trifid.
Hi, this sketch of open cluster barnard 86 of my last observation. It is a wonderful object, we can enjoy this jewel in the night sky. That day I could enjoy a very stable sky very definition, hitting that day to draw this magnificent object. Undoubtedly one of my favorite dark nebulae. Do not fail to escape this object in your upcoming observations.
regards and good heavens.
Object name: NGC 6520 / Barnard 86
Object type: Open cluster & dark nebula
Location: Bonilla cuenca ( spain )
Date: 5 July 2013
Media: graphite pencil,processed and inverted gimp 2.8
Optical equipment: Dobsonian telescope 10″ F/5 Meade lightbridge , eye piece Explore scientific 18mm 82°
Magnification 70x True field 1,1°
In attachment you can find sketch of nebulas complex in Orion around
Alnitak – NGC 2024 (Flame Nebula), IC434 and B33 (Horsehead Nebula),
IC435, NGC 2023
Object Name NGC 2024 (Flame Nebula), IC434 and B33
(Horsehead Nebula), IC435, NGC 2023
Object Type emission nebulas and dark nebula (Barnard 33)
Location Budy Dłutowskie – small village in central Poland
Media graphite pencil, white paper, color invert
Telescope Columbus 320UL (320/1384 Newtonian) +
Orion Q70 26mm + TS H-Beta 2”’
Seeing 2/5 (good)
Transparency 2/5 (good)
NELM 5,5 mag
I’ve heard that is possible to observe B33 under medium sky
condtitions (5-6mag) using 12” or bigger scope and H-Beta filter and
I’ve wondered is it true… In 2012 I bought 2” TS B-Beta filter and
after some months of really bad weather in Poland I tried it three
When you looking thru the eyepiece you can see Alnitak and misty
shadow of flame nebula. All views using H-beta filter are really dark
so you need few minutes for eye adaptation and you need also to cut
off from all external light sources (using some towel on head or
something like that 🙂 ).
After this adaptation really faint fog of IC434 will appear and in the
middle you can observe small black roundy shaped place in this nebula
– this is the shape of B33.
You won’t observe horsehead shape in 12-16” telescope probably even
in extremely good sky conditions. To see horeheadshape you need 18”
or bigger scope and H-Beta filter.
But its worth to try to observe it. It’s a challenge which can give
you knowledge how you can “detect” and observe really faint objects.
Object Name: M20, Trifid Nebula
Object Type: Galactic Nebula (emission, reflection and dark components)
Obeservation Location: Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
Date: 2. June 2011
Media: Chalk pencil on black paper
Observer: Christian Rausch
Telescope: 12inch/F5 Dobson (Hofheim Instruments)
The Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, is one of the best places to observe the night sky and main base of the European Northern Observatory.
It took me quite some time to get the sketch, I’ve never seen so much detail within this object before. The sky at the app. 2400m high volcano is amazing, in a few weeks I’ll return there with 2 friends.
M20 (BN/DN in Sgr)
Location : Mt. Bo-Hyun, South Korea (1,100M)
Date : May/27/2012
Media : Black paper, White Pastel / Conte
Equipment : Discovery 15″ Dob, Pentax XL 14mm
Hi. ASOD and everyone.
Last May, the latitude of the M20 is enough than I think. So I observe the Trifid nebula. The most distinctive appearance is the asymmetric three-pronged dark lane and the two fuzzy star located in the middle of the nebula.
I made a marathon sketch in the past month; I drew the M24 and the environment. It was very hard work, but it is also interesting. In the drawing are visible these objects: M24 star-cloud, NGC6603 the popular open cluster in M24, M18 open cluster, M17 Omega nebula, NGC6561 diffuse nebula, Ic1283 diffuse nebula, NGC6589 open cluster, Sharpless-35 diffuse nebula and Barnard 92-93 dark nebulae. My next target of the Scutum star-cloud… 🙂
Observation time: 2012 July-August (a lot of nights)
Equipment used: 10X50 binoculars
Field of view: 6° (360′)
Observer: Viktor Cseh
The observation has been made through a 20” dobson Obsession, at Tivoli lodge, Kalahari desert, altitude 1535m, Namibia, on june 2012.
Eyepieces used are Ethos 21mm and 13mm without filters; target was at 45° height.
Drawing made entirely with Paintshop pro, based upon a sketch at the eyepiece.
More details at www.deepsky-drawings.cm
– M20 – The Trifid Nebula (NGC 6514)
– Emission/Reflection Nebula
– Apparent Magnitude: 6.3
– Itajobi, Brazil
– July 27th, 2011
– 01h00 (U.T.)
– 2B 0.5mm graphite pencil on white paper
– 180mm dobsonian reflecting telescope
– 20mm Super Plossl eyepiece
– Magnification: 54 x
– Seeing: Antoniadi 1 (fine)
– NELM: 5.5
As I’ve already said, July 2011 was a productive month for me. I could observe and sketch many objects as I had never done before. Conditions were exceptional: no clouds, fair wind and pleasant temperature. That night I pointed my telescope to many objects. One of them was M20. Close to the Zenith, it was clearly seen. The dark paths in the Nebula were confusing, though. Only with averted vision I was able to notice the feature thoroughly, so it was a tough job to put it down on the paper. That was my best observation of The Trifid Nebula, I hope you like it.
Here’s a nice sketch I managed to do roughly a month ago.
Objects: IC 434, Barnard 33, NGC 2023, NGC 2024
Object type: various kinds of nebulae (dark, reflection & emission)
Location: Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain
Media: graphite pencil on white paper, inverted on a computer
This sketch was done under the nice La Palman NELM 7.0 sky using a Tokina 300mm f/2.8 photographic lens. With a eyepiece adapter this lens makes a nice roughly 10cm rich field telescope. I decided to take a glimpse at the Alnitak region in Orion to see if there was any chance to see IC 434. Using a H-beta filter indeed revealed the nebula, which complemented nicely the brighter NGC nebulae in the same field.
More careful observation revealed something unexpected to me. There was a round notch in the relatively sharp east edge of the IC 434 precisely at the location of the Horsehead nebula. Cross checking this feature with friends confirmed it to be real. Being able to see the Horsehead nebula with only a 10cm telescope was really stunning. After all, I had grown up always hearing that seeing it requires at least a medium large telescope. This was truly a lesson that aperture isn’t the last word when observing deep sky.
The sketch is a combination of two simultaneous views of the same field. IC 434 and Barnard 33 were drawn with a H-beta filter whereas NGC 2023 and 2024 were drawn unfiltered.
It was the first and last time I observed this nebula (because I observed it early and here, in Quebec, we don’t have good sky every day !).
I was alone with the radio in a blue-berry field, at Dolbeau. I remember… I saw Sagittarius constellation I and took my ipod to see which object I could see in this region… Nebulae and nebulae it had on my app ! I decided immediately to spot one of them with my 10 inch scope.
The Lagoon Nebulae
Without OIII, I easily saw the stellar cluster (NGC 6530) and I notice some nebulosity. But when I put the OIII filter… it was outstanding ! It first look like a cat footprint… My field of view did no allow me to see the entire nebulae. I wasn’t no anything about this nebulae this night and it was the main reason I drew it: When I came home and compare my sketch with picture I was just too happy 😛
Object Name: The Lagoon nebula, m8
Object Type: Emission nebulae with stellar cluster
Location: Dolbeau-Mistassini, Quebec, Canada
Date June 26-27 2011
Media: HB sketch pencil and shder brush
Instrument: Skywatcher 10 inch, 1200mm of focal length
Eyepiece: Celestron Ultima LX 13mm + Lumicon OIII filter
Object : NGC 6520 & B86 (Ink Spot Nebula)
Object Type : Open Cluster & Dark Nebula
Location : Haleakala Summit, Maui, Hawaii
Date : 7/3/11 11:20pm
Medium : Graphite pencil on white paper
I found this object by accident while locating another object & could not take my eyes off it. The open cluster appears three dimensional next to the stark black dark nebula. I used PhotoScape to invert to black, and to sharpen up some of the stars & color the yellow star in the most western section of the drawing.
Hello Artists,all o.k.?I’m depressed about the weather..i hope in 4 of January for the partial Eclipse of Sun.
I made only one sketch,M42 made with my big bino Astrotech 25×100 behind my home.The night was very icely but the sky was great,the Nebula in the bino was spectacular , in one full field of stars….I hope,next day to continue my sketch with the stars of belt and Flame Nebula.At the end i made one “poster”of Orion!
Happy New Year at all.
Location:Pergola,10 December 2010 at 11,45 p.m. l.t.
Instrument: Big bino 25×100 (straight vision)on wood heavi trypod in steady mount
Technics:withe pastel and penn on black paper Fabriano 3.
I send you the central part of M. 42, “The great gas nebula in Orion”.
The greenish filaments of gas that surrounds the four stars. Theta Orionis is the most beautiful object you can see in the sky in both small and big telescopes! The central part of the nebula is so bright that it is easily seen with naked eyes in the middle of Orion’s sword.
I made this sketch with crayons (watercolours) on black paper.
The observation from outside Trondheim city, Norway.
Best wishes and dark sky to all artists!! MERRY CHRISTMAS !!
-Messier 8 / NGC 6523
-August 6, 2010
-Black and grey colored pencil on white paper, black uni-ball pen to accentuate stars, and eraser to help smudge nebulosity. Drawing photographed with Panasonic DMC-TZ3 and imported to Photoshop for inverting, and slight blurring to “nebulize” the actual emissions while keeping stars intact.
Observed in an orange/yellow zone with a 203mm Newtonian. M8 was sketched as seen with a Lumicon UHC filter which created an extremely noticeable improvement in the extent of the region’s nebulosity. Transparency was judged to be about a seven out of ten.
The Trifid Nebula, M20, in Sagittarius Sketch by Janis Romer, text by Frank McCabe
This is a fine eyepiece sketch of the Trifid nebula (Messier 20) in Sagittarius. Northern hemisphere observers at dark sky sites consider it a real summer time delight. The glow sketched here is mostly an emission nebula but includes a reflection nebula component as well. Three lobes in the emission nebula portion were created by the light blocking debris remnants of exploded stars. The glow is mostly due to H II star formation regions of ionized gas and plasma heated by high energy radiation from hot young stars in the region.
The distance to this deep sky object is not well known. It is believed to be between 2,300 and 9,000 light years away. Estimates of the visual magnitude of this treasure fall between 6.8 and 9.0, making it visible with binocular or a small telescope. Charles Messier viewed and catalogued M 20 on June 5, 1764.
R.A. 18h 2.6m
Dec. -23° 2′
Known also as NGC 6514
Criterion 8″ f/8 Newtonian reflector
The Trapezium and Other Bright Stars of the Orion Nebula Sketch and Details by Janis Romer
January, 1983. Temple University Night Owl, 17 1/2″ Dob. One of those Coulter mirrors*.
You will notice I have not included any of the smaller stars. I was using stars only as reference points for the nebula and simply ignored them. I’ve been tempted to go back and add them in, but decided I liked it better just the way I originally made it, warts and all.
Conte pastel pencils (white, blended greens) on black pastel paper.
*Note: James A. Braginton (Jacobsen), the owner/operator of Coulter Optical (deceased) was the first manufacturer of commercial Dobsonian telescopes. The Odyssey 2 (17.5” f/4.5) debuted in January of 1982. Nearly all of them were made in a small shop in Idyllwild, California. The early ones had well figured mirrors and were very inexpensive. Finished mirror sets were also sold in good numbers. -Frank McCabe
NGC 7000 – The North America Nebula Sketch and Details by Juha Ojanperä
Object name: NGC 7000, North America nebula
Object type: Bright nebula
Location: Parainen, Finland
Instrument: Lens 80mm/400mm (3” lens)
Medium used: Graphite pencils and cottonwool sticks
Observing conditions: Dark, clear sky
Notes: Very large bright nebula. The distinct shape of the nebula is pretty easy to see, after some gazing and with aid of O III filter. In the North America, Mexico and the area around Gulf of Mexico are brightest, though the eastern coast is also considerably bright. The nebula gets fainter to the north and west. The Pelican nebula appeared as faint, nebulous patch a little bit to east from the eastern coast.
Barnard 68 and 72 (The Snake Nebula) Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe
B68 Oph dark nebula Difficulty level: 3/5
B72 Oph dark nebula Difficulty level: 4/5
The Snake Nebula
Date of Observation: 2002/08/02 22:51
Observing Site: Gokase
Transparency/Seeing/sky darkness: 5/2/5
Instruments: 50cm Dobsonian and XL40
Width of field: 1.1 degrees
These are good photographic objects but difficult visually.
There are numerous faint stars in the field, although they are not as dense as in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Against this background a dark nebula shaped ‘S’ is visible faintly. The southern part of the winding dark nebula is wide and clear. It is conspicuous because the background is bright. It is not curved smoothly but bent sharply at two places. The northern part is bent at one place. The end of the northern part is not clear. There is a small separate dark nebula visible southwest of the Snake Nebula. This is B68. This is more clearly seen than the Snake Nebula because the background is bright. It is triangular with its corners being roundish.
Object Name: IC 1318(c) (West Extension)
Also Known As: LBN 236, LBN 240, LBN 241, DWB 52, GAL 077.7+03.4
Object Type: Emission Nebula
Right Ascension (2000.0): 20h 17.1m
Declination (2000.0): +40° 50′
Size: 40′ x 25′
Date/Time: 27 July 2008 • 05:45 to 07:00 UT
Location: Oakzanita Springs, San Diego Co., California, USA
Telescope: Parks Astrolight EQ6 • 6″ f/6 Newtonian Reflector
Eyepiece/Magnification: Parks 20mm Gold Series Plössl • 45x • 70′ FoV
Filters: Lumicon OIII
Conditions: Clear, Calm, 64°F
Seeing: Pickering 6-7
Transparency: NELM 6.4; TLM 14.2
This cascade of stars shrouded in smoky wisps of nebulosity caught my attention as I made the star hop from Gamma Cygni to IC 1318(b). The cascade ends at the sparse open cluster Collinder 419, whose brightest star is a close pair known as Struve 2666 (6.0, 8.2; 2.6″; 245°). Just northeast of this cluster the narrow stream of nebulosity blossoms into a hazy morass of delicate nebulosity – this is IC 1318(c). Fifth magnitude HD 193092 blazes with a reddish-orange light to the south.
Sketch Info: Nebulosity sketched with graphite applied with artist chamois and blending stump on 24# paper in 7½” circle. Stars with pencil and ink, cleaned up digitally (and colorized) in Microsoft Picture It!
M8 (NGC 6523) Sgr diffuse nebula
Difficulty level 1
The Lagoon Nebula
Date of observation: 1998/05/27 03:20
Transparency/seeing/sky darkness: 3/3/4
Instruments: 32cm Dobsonian with XL21 at 70x and OIII Filter
Width of field: 0.9 degree
Complex structures are visible. There is the open cluster NGC 6530 near the center, which can be seen clearly even with the OIII filter. The brighter part of the nebula is divided into three regions. A triangular-shaped nebulosity in the southwest is the brightest with 9 Sgr (mag 6.1) shining at the center. There is a small, somewhat fainter region south of 9 Sgr. The second brightest region extend from the center to the south, which contains the open cluster NGC 6530. Between the brightest and next brightest regions lies a clear winding dark lane like a large river. The “banks of the river” is bright and a magnificent sight. At the southern end a sharp protrusion like a horn is visible. Although it is faint, the outline is sharp. North of the brightest region lies the third brightest region. It extends from the east to the west and the eastern half is bright providing a fine sight. With a close examination you can detect a faint nebulosity east of NGC 6530. It is large and looks like a very faint mist. In 10×42 binoculars, there are two bright spots side by side in the east-west direction within a narrow triangle. There is a double involving 7 Sgr at the western end of the triangle. There is a star near the center of the western part of the bright region. This star is 9 Sgr and the bright nebulosity surrounding it is clearly seen. The eastern part is rather elongated with the same orientation with NGC 6520. The globular cluster NGC 6544 is clearly seen in the southeast.
NGC 6520 and Barnard 86 Sketch and Details by Kiminori Ikebe
A dark nebula telescopically easy and an beautiful overlapping open cluster. A photograph taken by a 200mm lens shows a small dark nebula and a compact open cluster at the southern edge in addition to M8 and M20. At 110x B86 is quite clear. The field is lit up by the Milky Way stars but a dark triangular shape region to the west of NGC 6520 is quite conspicuous. It appears as if the area is literally painted black and is called the “Ink Spot.” A line of stars along the base of this triangle. A hint of a long dark nebula to the southwest of NGC 6520. This is not as conspicuous as B86; not visible with direct vision. NGC 6520 is beautiful, compact, and “lively.” Bright stars are scattered across. Faint stars are concentrated in some areas.
Mr. Ikebe observed and sketched this view of M20 using a 50 cm Dobsonian at 220X.
M20, The Trifid Nebula, is a famous and beautiful target for astrophotographers and visual observers alike. The red emission nebula contains a young star cluster at its center, and is surrounded by a blue reflection nebula that is most noticeable at the northern end. It’s distance is not well agreed upon, and is listed anywhere from 2,200 light years (Mallas/Kreimer) to 9000 light years (Jeff Hester). Its magnitude estimate is also wide, and is listed from 9.0 (Kenneth Glyn Jones) to 6.8 (Machholz). Part of the magnitude difficulty comes from the very bright triple-star system at the heart of the nebula.
The dark nebula that crosses the Trifid was cataloged by Barnard and listed as B 85. The object was originally cataloged by Charles Messier in 1764, when he described it as a cluster of stars.
The European midsummer nights are not the most favourable nights to go deep-sky hunting. The twilight lasts for the whole night. I had planned to give my attention to some bright galactic clusters. The more delicate objects like faint nebulae should have to wait for darker nights. The NELM for this particular night was around 5.8. I had a few clusters in Cygnus in mind. The last one on my list was the conspicuous M39. When I finished my observation of M39, I tried to see if NGC 7209 in Lacerta was a worthy object for autumn nights. Much to my surprise did I encounter Barnard 168, a thin dark line halfway between M39 and NGC 7209: a dark nebula! It was an unprepared but pleasant visit in the twilight sky. B 168 does not come forward as a void in a crowded field of stars. No, it really shows a darkening as large as 2° in the subtle galactic star glow. While B168 should offer more detail on darker nights, I did make an observation with a sketch under the twilight sky. Maybe other observers with less ideal skies would be encouraged to try their luck as well?
B168 can be found near M39. Put M39 at the western edge of the fov, as shown in the sketch. B168 should be visible near the centre of the field.
Site : Bütgenbach, Belgium
Date : July 2, 2008
Time : around 00.15 UT
Binoculars : Bresser 8×56
Filter : none
Mount : Trico Machine Sky Window
Seeing : 3,5/5
Transp. : 4/5
Nelm : around 5.8
Sketch Orientation : N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Photo Paint, based on a raw pencil sketch.