A little while back I sent my 6″ refractor out for re-alignment and since it came back the skies have been cloudy here in Southeastern PA. Finally at the end of August we get some clear skies right around the time of full moon. So I wait a few days and at last I get a chance to do a little deep sky observing with it. Seeing was good on the 31st but transparency was a little off.
My first target is M57, the Ring Nebula in constellation Lyra. At 30x M57 looks like an puffy out-of-focus star floating amidst the background stars. Stepping up to 54x I can see the ring structure very well with a well defined dark center. The best view is at 108x. M57 has a green-gray color with well defined edges and a little darkening on the north edge.
The Globular Cluster M56, also in Lyra, is next. M56 is faint and requires averted vision to detect at 30x from my light polluted location. Switching up to 54x, the contrast is better but averted vision is still required. The object appears as an irregular fuzzy ball evenly bright across the surface.
Albireo is next up. Viewed at 30x, the jewel like appearance of this classic double star never fails to blow me away. The contrasting colors of blue and gold on a black velvet background. Wow! I never pass up a chance to look at this amazing spectacle the Medieval Arabic-speaking astronomers called minqar al-dajajah.
Jupiter is the final target for the night. At 142x the image is, well, out of this world (sorry, I couldn’t resist that). The NEB was well defined as were many other feature on the planets’ surface.
That’s where I wrapped it up. Just about an hours worth of observing then the “Evil Orb” a.k.a the Moon arose to wash out the sky.