Seeing Darkness

Barnard 168

Bernard 168
Sketch and Details by Rony De Laet

Barnard 168

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
FOV: 5.9°
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.

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