With the summer sky in August beginning to get a little darker, now is the time to explore the stars on the southern horizon at ~ 22:00 BST which are dominated by Scorpius and Sagittarius and the centre of our Milky Way. There are lots of deep sky objects in this region so here is another pick of the best. In Scorpius Antares is a bright red star often called the 'Rival of Mars' so when Mars lies close to it then it is worth comparing them. Nearby to it and forming a triangle with Sigma Sco is the globular cluster M4 and higher up in Scorpius lies another globular, M80. Omega Sco is a wide naked eye double star worth viewing.
Very low down, only just above the horizon (except for northern regions), are two open clusters, M7 and M6 as seen here in a recent image taken from mid Lincolnshire.
M22 and M28 are globulars and easily found near Lambda Sagittarii. We also have several nebula of note, M8 the Lagoon nebula is quite large and diffuse whilst near to it lies the more challenging M20, Trifid Nebula with a small star cluster close to it, M21.
Look out for M17 the Omega or Swan nebula and M16 the Eagle nebula, of which the most obvious feature is the star cluster but it is home to the ‘Pillars of Creation’ (cover photo). There are plenty of other objects higher up the Milky Way so take a tour and see what you find along the way!
Have fun whatever instrument you use to explore the night sky!
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The Deep Sky Wanderer
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