We see the Scutum Star Cloud
not because it's intruding into our view against a dark background, but because chance has pulled back the curtain of dust to give us a glimpse of the glories beyond.
The triangle of M16, M17, and the Seventh Glow is only about 2 1/2[degrees] to a side and yet each of the three is in a different constellation--Serpens (M16), Sagittarius (M17), and Scutum (the Seventh Glow star cloud
According to NGC/IC researcher Harold Corwin, this can't be the object Guillaume Bigourdan discovered: "Bigourdan's measurements clearly point at IC 131's star clouds
, his description fits them, and he specifically mentions the compact H II region calling it a 13.5 magnitude star." Indeed there's an amazing tangle of nomenclature surrounding this tiny smudge.
LDN 548, representative of the large clouds in this region, is relatively easy to locate: it's on the north side of the Scutum Star Cloud
, just 1/2[degrees] west of the stars 7 and 8 Aquilae and 8' from the star HD 174323.
Moreover, it has very ambiguous edges and displays no conspicuous bright star clouds
or dark dust features.
The Milky Way from Sagittarius to Cygnus isn't merely a faint band of featureless haze; it's divided by a long dark rift, smudged by several dark patches, and ornamented by a half-dozen star clouds
of different sizes and brightnesses.
But when seeking the last weeks to view the star clouds
, nebulae, and clusters in the direction of our galaxy's center, you also have to take into account a phenomenon almost as legendary as the Milky Way itself: the Harvest Moon.
But it isn't a featureless, hazy band; it has bays, rifts, and star clouds
that can be seen easily by the unaided eye and are often quite spectacular in binoculars -- as long as you view them from a dark location on a clear, moonless night.
: rich patches of spiral arms or the central bulge that are visible through windows in dust clouds.
Each is a mixture of numerous H II emission areas, star clusters, and star clouds
. A UHC or O III filter shows the brightest H II areas with a bit more contrast--pretty cool considering that they're roughly 25 million light-years distant.
Or the mist of star clouds
thrown up from the unseen cataract?
The spout and lid of the Teapot can be used to find many star clouds
and nebulae and one great globular cluster: Messier 22, just northeast of the star that marks the top of the lid.