The elusive M26

M26 isn’t even in my Cambridge Deep Sky album, and I can kind of see why. A few days after the summer solstice, it’s not much to see at all, but, I did see it tonight, even under the not very dark skies of Pattingham. At one point I think I saw the fainter stars of a great cluster, but then it was gone again, and I was left with a diamond shape that was, I’m afraid, one of the most underwhelming Messier objects to date. I’ll re-visit under darker skies.
The star of the night was M11, the ‘Wild Duck’ cluster that was resolved splendidly with the 18mm Kelner eyepiece. Easily found in the 10×8 Opticroms before dark. One of the greatest deep-sky objects.
I also found NGC6664, a faint open cluster, also in Scutum (as is (M26). M11 is over the border in Aquila.
I found a cluster in Ophiuchus that I knew must be M10 or M12, I wrote ‘a diamond in a triangle surrounds it’, which – I just checked Stellarium – makes it M12.
So bright was the sky, I had trouble navigating. The Telrad finderscope doesn’t magnify, which if fine under a dark sky, but with only the brightest stars at viewable with the naked eye, it’s a test.
Through the bins M13 and M92 were easily found. Saturn and Jupiter looked lovely, but inaccessible due to the observatory having a dobsonian in there at the moment, it won’t get quite low enough. Most annoying having the two greatest telescopic planets in the sky, and a 16″ mirror scope at your disposal, and not being able to look at the planets through it.
I was there a couple of hours but don’t seem to have done much list-ticking, but it was most enjoyable, just me and the owls and the fish splashing in the water over the hedge. There’s talk of putting a ‘go-to’ in the dome, which will be great, but I like star-hopping. Am thinking I should get my 10″ dob back in use and take that up to the site. It’d only take two trips from the van. Hmmm.