Welcome to...

Summer Starhop Challenge....



"Let me take you higher..."

Well, well! Since you're here, I take it that you're looking for a bit of adventure, eh? Not satisfied with the "run-of-the-mill" target practice? Then you have come to the right place, because I'm going to take YOU into the "heart" of my galaxy...

Are you ready to rock???


Let's journey first into Scorpius, where we've now become familiar with the M4 and the M80. Return again to Antares, and let the scope travel down the "body" of the Scorpion until you find the NGC6231. Visible even in small scopes, this open cluster is comprised of a number of blue/white stars. A slight shift to the north will bring you to NGC6242, which is a good binocular target and a fine sight in the telescope! Now, bump to the east to located NGC6281, another terrific open cluster. Run a grid to the east, to capture the M7, open cluster... and a hop to the northwest brings the M6, "Butterfly" cluster into view! Tally one up on the charts, and let's head out again...


Let's explore Ophiuchus. We've found the, M62, and theM19, so starting there, we are going "globular hunting" with style! Shift the scope to the north/east running a pattern, and catch the M9! Ready again? Then let's run the grid from there to the northwest, and hunt dow the M107, a small, dense one. Remember the distance you've travelled, and run the grid to the north/east yet again... the first one you should "surf across is the M10! Then a bump north, and ever-so-slightly to the east will capture the M12. From this point, we head due east and search for the M14 another compact globular in this run. Score a mark on yon tree... and let's go for more!

So... are you ready for a REAL challenge now? Then let's go to EXTREMES...

Wasn't that great fun?! (Of course, I always have fun when I'm around YOU! ;) Now... let's grab a cup of coffee and head out for more!


Ah.. now for my favorite... Saggitarius! You'll never know how much I rejoice at your return... We've located M8, the "Lagoon", the M20, "Trifid Nebula", and the M17, "Swan Nebula"... now let's head to the eastern most star at the bottom of the "teapot": Nunki. A hop due south from the "anchor" will net you the M54 globular cluster. Go a bit more to the southeast, and you will find the M70, and due west of that is the M69 globular. Catch your breath, because we are about to "hop" back up to the top! Locate the "Lagoon" again, and enjoy! Then head to the "Trifid" and rejoice!! Let's use this beauty as our next anchor. Just a nudge to the northeast will bring you to the M21! Go southeast to Lambda Sagittarii, then back just a bit, where you will find the M28, a fuzzy little fellow, at best! On the the northeast, where you should be able to spot in the finderscope the M22, a globular that is sometimes seen with the unaided eye! Let's make a grid to the north, a nudge it to the west to pick up the wide open cluster M25. Using your own two eyes, scan to the west of the M25, and you should be able to discern the dense star cloud of the M24. Visible in small scopes, as the aperature increases, so does the resolution! Now, sweep to the east and capture the M23, a nice open cluster that resolves well with a smaller scope. Take a big hop to the west for the last target here... the M9. This nice, compact globular winds down our tour of Saggitarius! (See why I love it so?) Let's pat ourselves on the back... and shoot for more! (Wanna' go to EXTREMES? ;)


We've been to the M5... a part of Serpens Caput, now let's head between Ophiuchus and Scutum to Serpens Caudia. It is here that the M16 cluster lay. Smaller scopes reveal it's beauty... but to the larger scope, it belongs to the "Eagle Nebula"! (Makes you wish you had the Hubble for this one, doesn't it?)


Let's head into Hercules... OK, now we've found the M13, let's go hunt the M92. Located above the "keystone", this compact globular lies in a notoriously empty field of markers! Sweep back and forth between Vega and Arcturus, going up slightly each time, and you will "surf" across it! Don't forget while you're in this constellation to visit Ras Algethi, a delightful red/green double. Now... let's rock and roll!


You've seen the M57, "Ring Nebula"... and done the "Double-Double" , Epsilon Lyrae... and probably gotten lost in the star "rich" fields of this constellation, but have you ever looked for the M56? Just above Albireo, and below the "harp" formation, lay a compact globular... worthy of your attention! Now... let's fly!


Now, you know where Albireo is at. And, you may have seen the NGC7000, the "North American Nebula", but let's head toward the center of the constellation! Slightly south of the central star lies the M29... an easy open cluster. Head north of Deneb and you will find the M39, another bright, open cluster. Ready for more? Then try the NGC6826, the famous "blinking" planetary! Still want more? Then latch on to a six inch or more aperature, and hunt down the "Veil Nebula"! (If you find this elusive "target", then you best kiss the scope... because in years of trying, I've only captured it a few times! (Hint... it's off the wing-tip!)

Wasn't that great? And of course, there are more places to explore, like the constellations Aquila, Saggitta, the Corona Borealis, and Delphinus! So, if you're in the mood, perhaps I can talk you into going to EXTREMES with me?!! (I dare you! ;) Never stop "surfing" along the Milky Way.... and have FUN!

Now... don't go away! Because when the season changes again, I will be looking for YOU... ;-)

--the astronomer