Time: 03:45-07:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)
NELM: 6.6 – 6.2
Darkness of the background sky: 1-3
Weather: Clear sky, fresh, gusty breeze, +8 – +9 C
Objects observed: NGC 5662, 6124, 5986, 6397, 6193 and 6352
During the second night of observing during my 2. trip to Tenerife, I woke up at 2am and drove up to Mt. Teide to observe the morning sky and Milky way!
I arrived at my observing place around 3am, and it was very, very windy up the mountain! The wind was very gusty, on-off wind, at times it was totally calm but soon another gust came and I had to hold on all the papers to prevent wind from throwing them all over! That was quite problematic! Even though the wind was a nuisance, I was still able to make 6 visual observations and to take some wide angle photos of the Milky way!
My first object of this morning was NGC 5662, an open cluster in Centaurus. This object is located in southern Centaurus, roughly 4 degrees from alpha Centauri to north. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
A small, rather poor open cluster, pretty large brightness range, not very concentrated, well detached from background
After having observed that open cluster in Centaurus, I went on to Scorpius to observe another open cluster! This cluster is NGC 6124, which is located in southern Scorpius, about 6 degrees from zeta Scorpi to NW. I wrote following notes of this object:
Large and very beatiful and rich open cluster, the cluster is well concentrated and well detached from it’s background.
From Scorpius I went on to it’s western neighbour constellation Lupus to observe a globular cluster that is residing in the constellation. This globular cluster is NGC 5986, which is located about 8 degrees NW from NGC 6124. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Pretty bright globular cluster, not resolved but it brightens slightly towards the core. Easy!
After observing that globular cluster in Lupus, I went on to observe yet another planetary nebula, this in in southern neighbour of Scorpius, in the constellation of Ara! NGC 6397 is a large and bright globular cluster, it equals M13 in size (both are about 25′ in diameter) that is often considered to be The Great Cluster, at least for us living in the northern latitudes. This was very easy to find with the main asterism of Ara, it is located 4 degrees SE from alpha Arae. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Large, bright globuar cluster, not resolved, brightens slightly towards the core.
After having observed that great globular cluster, I had yet another object on my list in Ara. That object was NGC 6193, an open cluster located in the westernmost part of the constellation near Ara-Norma border. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
Very small and compact cluster, easily overlooked with this kind of RTF -telescope.
After having observed that small open cluster, I still had one more object for observing in Ara, although morning twilight had already started making the sky lighter. That obbject was NGC 6352, yet another globular cluster in Ara. This cluster is located less than two degrees NW from alpha Arae. Of this object, I wrote following notes:
A small, rather faint globular cluster, not resolved
Milky way is best visible in the morning in this time of the year. I had taken my camera (Canon EOS 1100D) and couple of wide angle lenses with me to Tenerife and I also bought one of those gorilla pods for a small miniature travel tripod. I supported the camera+8mm Samyang fish eye -lens+gorillapod -combination on some rocks on the ground and took some shots of the Milky way.
I think the Milky way was stunning, but it is easy to see some light pollution from the tourist areas of Los Cristianos-Las Americas in the lower part of the photo. From that photo you can also get some general idea about my observing place. It is a place that has practically zero horizon to the south, only some isolated trees are rising to few degrees, but they aren’t blocking the view and it is easy to move the telescope to get a clear view.