Sky at Night Magazine - - Q&A -

This month’s deep-sky treats re­side low in the north­ern sky from mid-lat­i­tude Aus­tralia. Firstly, the bright open clus­ter NGC 6940 (RA 20h 34.5m, dec. +28° 18’) in Vulpec­ula. At an over­all mag­ni­tude of +6.3, this rich star field of about 100 stars cov­ers a cir­cu­lar area, ap­prox­i­mately 0.3° di­am­e­ter, with some mem­bers form­ing curved lines. The stars are mostly around 11th mag­ni­tude with a few at 9th. Move east­ward, cross the bor­der into Pe­ga­sus and visit the spiral gal­axy NGC 7217 (RA 22h 07.9m, dec. +31° 22’). At +10.1 mag­ni­tude its most prom­i­nent fea­ture is a bright cir­cu­lar halo, ap­prox­i­mately 3 ar­cmin­utes across. High-power tele­scopes hint at some mot­tling on the surface. It only slightly bright­ens to­wards the core and there is a small, al­most star-like nu­cleus just vis­i­ble.

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