Thursday, September 04, 2008

Messier Object 22 (M22)

Tonight I experienced a first! I located my first Messier object. M22 to be exact. Viewing conditions were perfect tonight. Got home late, looked up and noticed that the sky was very clear. Got home and was able to locate the Summer Triangle very easily, and Jupiter was off to the south, high in the sky and very bright. Brought out the binoculars, focused on Jupiter and saw his four moons on a diagonal with the planet, two on either side. Beautiful.

Saw a variable star SSW and closer to the horizon. Turns out that was Antares, part of Scorpius. Went inside and loaded up Stellarium. I figured since the night sky was so beautiful that my chances of seeing something more might be better. Figured I'd search in the area of Jupiter since I can definitely use Jupiter as a starting point and anchor in the sky. Well, turns out M22 was just down and west of Jupiter. Started looking and lo and behold ... a fuzzy blob! I found it! Drew an illustration, and while M22 doesn't exactly look like that through the binoculars, it'll serve as my artistic impression. I have a more accurate drawing in my log book. I didn't hang around long enough to see individual stars, I needed to get this recorded. So, now at least I know what I'm looking for. Awesome!

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