Time: 19:45-22:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Weather: Clear sky, light wind, +15 – 13 C
Objects observed: Messier 4, 6, 7, 8, 20, 22 and 28
In October of 2015 I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong dream about observing the southern deep sky objects that are not visible from Finland. Especially I had dreamed about observing the objects of Sagittarius and Scorpius and seeing the southern Milky Way!
Finally on 6th of November I travelled with my girlfriend to Tenerife, Canary islands to make this dream come true! During the days we were involved with other activities, but in the evenings I drove every night to the top of Mt. Teide with a rented car. We spent totally a week in Tenerife (6.-12.10.2015 and I was observing during 5 nights).
In the first evening (6th of October 2015) I drove to the mountain to do observing, although I had a terrible headache because of the heat and dehydration. I had been looking for suitable observing spots with Google Maps, so I know something about where to go. We were living in a hotel in the Costa Adeje area in the SW part of the Tenerife island. I started driving from there to the Mountain. Weather patterns were quite similar each evening: in the morning it’s mostly clear, but during the day some cumulus clouds are growing, and they remain in the sky until the night. Nevertheless the mountaintop is above the cloud layer, so they don’t disturb observing. I drove upwards the narrow and curvy roads, and soon I reached the clouds that were hanging at the mountain slopes. Very soon I was above the clouds, and the sky was clear and pristine!
I found a suitable spot for observing that I had been looking already before with Google Maps. I parked my car, and immediately I saw Antares and Scorpius glowing in the twilight sky, and soon I spotted Sagittarius Teapot asterism too! And Milky Way became also visible. Finally, me dream had come true! I was gazing the sky and admiring it’s beauty, but soon I started obsering.
I had my small 3” refractor with me as my travel telescope. It’s quite light and small, and I had no trouble carrying it with me in the plane. I had the telescope itself in hand luggage, whereas the tripod was in the large bag in the aircraft hold.
My first target was globular cluster Messier 4 in Scorpius, very close to Antares. Of this globular cluster, I wrote following notes:
Bright and well concentrated large globular cluster. The cluster is not resolved, only some single stars can be glimpsed in the threshold of being resolved with averted vision. The cluster gets brighter towards the core.
My next target was open cluster located in the tail of the Scorpius known as Messier 7, which is also the southernmost of the Messier objects. I wrote following notes of this observation:
A bright-starred, rich and well concentrated cluster, very beautiful!
Messier 6 is a small open cluster also located in Scorpius, about 3 degrees NW from M7. It is also know as “Butterfly cluster”. Of the Butterfly cluster, I made following notes:
Small, bright starred and well concentrated rich cluster. Brightest stars of the cluster are in rectangular pattern.
From Scorpius I went on to the mightly and famous constellation of Sagittarius, which is a home to many famous deep sky objects, including for example Messier 8, which is one of the most famous and beautiful emission nebulas in the sky! From Messier 8, also known as Lagoon nebula, I made following notes:
Large and bright nebula that was already visible without filters. With OIII filter the nebula is very well visible. There seems to be a dark lane in the middle of the nebula dividing the nebula in two parts (eastern and western). There is also a small but obvious open cluster in the eastern half of the nebula. There are also many single stars embedded in or superimposed on the nebula. The orientation of the visual long axis of the nebula with this instrument is SW-NE.
Messier 20 is another emission nebula in Sagittarius. It is located just 1,5 degrees from Messier 8 to NW. It is known as Trifid nebula because of lanes of dark nebula that are dividing the emission nebula in three parts. I wrote following notes of the Trifid nebula:
This nebula is located just a degree away from M8 to NW. This nebula appears with this instrument as small, round and bright nebulous patch. The nebula seems to be centered on a single 8th magnitude star. The nebula is weakly visible without filter, but it is obvious and easy with OIII filter.With my instrument, the dark lanes of this nebula were not visible.
The constellation of Sagittarius is also home to many globular clusters, just like Messier 22. Messier 22 is a great globular cluster located 2 negrees NE from the tip of the teapot asterism. Of Messier 22, I wrote following notes:
A large and bright globular cluster. The cluster is not resolved, bit it appears to be a bit granular on the edges. The cluster gets brighter towards the core.
The last but not least of the objects of my first observing night on Mt. Teide was another globular cluster in Sagittarius, Messier 28. It is located near Messier 22, less than a degree from the tip of the teapot to NW. Of Messier 28 I wrote following notes:
A small but bright globular cluster, not resolved.