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This season's night-sky videos

A pair of globulars, and a tight double

Continuing a tour of Ophiuchus finds two globular clusters nestled within the larger shape of the good doctor. Messier 12 and Messier 10 can easily be found by doing a bit of simple geometry and then pointing your telescope where the lines intersect in the sky. Skeptical? Check out this week's video and see how easy it can be - there's two globular clusters just waiting for you to observer them, so why not give it a shot? And if starhopping is more along the lines of how you prefer to observe, then a super-close double star awaits as you hop your way from Yed Prior and Yed Posterior in Ophiuchus along the way to M12 and M10.


Some sights in the serpent physician

Ophiuchus is a large constellation; learn some of the mythology behind this shape in the sky in this week's "Astronomy Theater," then find out how to locate and observe the large open cluster IC4665, a colorful double star in 70 Ophiuchi, and the second closest star to Earth after the Sun and Alpha Centauri system (Barnard's star). So... open, double, close. Sounds like a door! Let Eyes on the Sky open this one for you to these great sights in the night sky. 


Oddly shaped craters to see near full Moon

The Moon has lots of craters - and most any small telescope can show most of them that are 20km or larger in size. But how to identify them? Take a journey this week from the easily found Mare Nubium, over the Mare Humorum, and then south along the western edge and terminator side of the Moon to find a wealth of oddly-shaped and multiple-impact craters. Among those to find and observe:

  • Agatharchides
  • Gassendi
  • Lee / Doppelmayer
  • Schiller (a true "oblong" crater)
  • Hainzel
  • Clavius
  • Cabeus
...among many others, and all in less than 5 minutes! Take a look this week; though they are ordered by the ideal evening to see them, most are visible for at least a night or two afterwards if the weather is cloudy or uncooperative.

A globular and open cluster from three bright stars

Messier 6 - also known as the Butterfly Cluster - is a fairly well known open cluster; it is bright, large, and can even be seen with binoculars from most areas. But Messier 62, a globular cluster that is technically in Scutum, is actually easier to find from Scorpius. Learn how to draw a line right to this globular, and then how to extend that line over to Sagittarius to make a flip-turn back to Messier 6. 

For a free, printable star map you can use to help you find these objects, check out chart 18 on the Star Charts page.


The Lord of the Rings

Messier 57 is quite bright as planetary nebula are concerned, plus it is unlike mos other bright ones in a unique way. It's the only really bright one visible in most small telescopes that looks like a ring shape. Other planetary nebula such as the Dumbbell Nebula or Cat's Eye Nebula are also bright, but far different in shape, structure and appearance than The Ring.

So how to find it? Check out the video above. Messier 57 is pretty easy to locate, and is conveniently not far from one of the brightest stars in the entire sky, Vega. 


The stars and shapes of summer

Summertime brings warmer weather, shorter nights, but a good many objects to see in the night sky with telescopes and binoculars, not to mention a fair number of bright naked eye stars. Learn where to find the brighter shapes of the season from some familiar shapes like the Big Dipper / Plough, or the Summer Triangle region of the sky. 

And while you're out, why not check to see how many stars you can see in the sky, and report back to Globe at Night? That helps us track light pollution across the globe.