Things to see in the Summer Sky

The summer sky is rich with things you can see

The Summer sky gives us a wealth of wonderful deep space objects to see. Many of them are embedded within the cloudy Milky Way and the constellation of Sagittarius which is where the center of the Milky Way lies. Four of them on our list are in Sagittarius (M8, M17, M20, and M22)

  • The Milky Way
  • Lagoon Nebula (M8)
  • Omega Nebula (M17)
  • Trifid Nebula (M20)
  • Sagittarius Cluster (M22)
  • The Hercules Cluster (M13)
  • The Ring Nebula (M57)
  • Eagle Nebula (M16)
  • Dumbbell Nebula (M27)
  • Albireo Double Star (Beautiful contrast in colors)
  • Wild Duck Cluster (M11)

The Milky Way – An important thing to realize about the milky way is that it is very dim. You need dark skies to see it well. It is very large and very dispersed. Depending on the time of night and the month it can spread across much of the sky. A good way to find it would be to identify the constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius. Within these two constellations the Milky Way is at it’s brightest and thickest. I took this picture of the Milky Way at the Grand Canyon where the skies are exceptionally dark.

This astro photo shows you the two constellations to look for when trying to find the milky way. If you have dark skies you will have no trouble spotting the milky way.

  • Lagoon Nebula (M8) Apparent Magnitude: +6.0 and the Trifid Nebula (M20)
  • Omega Nebula (M17)
  • Trifid Nebula (M20)
  • Sagittarius Cluster (M22)

These four objects are all in the constellation of Sagittarius.

The Lagoon nebula is a giant interstellar cloud within the constellation of Sagittarius. It’s magnitude of 6 puts it just at the very end range of eyesight. It will reveal itself as a small puffy area with binoculars.

The Lagoon Nebula and the Trifid Nebula (M8 and M20)

The Omega Nebula

M22 The Sagittarius Cluster

The Hercules Cluster (M13) – Apparent Magnitude of +5.8

On good nights with dark skies you can see it with just the naked eye. It will look like a tiny fuzzy spot or a fuzzy star. With binoculars or a small telescope it will expand and possibly show individual stars on the outer edges. to resolve it into more stars you need a larger telescope.

The Ring Nebula (M57) Apparent Magnitude: 8.8

You can’t see it with the naked eye because of it’s low magnitude. But it is extremely easy to find between two bright stars in the constellation of Lyra. The photograph here shows color. And it is colorful but you will not see any color with binoculars or a small telescope. It will look like a white powdered donut. The central star you see in the photograph is magnitude 14. 8 so you need a large telescope to see it.

M16 The Eagle Nebula

M27 The Dumbbell Nebula

Alberio Double Star – The thing that makes this double star so beautiful is the bright colors and the contrast between the two colors.

M 11- The Wild Duck Cluster