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Stellar neighbors

Celestial sketcher Erika Rix explains how to avoid bright stars drowning out other observational treats sharing a field of view.
RELATED TOPICS: ASTROSKETCHING
Erika-Rix
Bright stars can drown out nearby faint objects, making them a challenge to see. But when push comes to shove, those luminous balls of gas act as locating beacons and can provide engaging views when they pair with their neighbors through an eyepiece. I’ve chosen two globular clusters in the constellation Scorpius to illustrate how they do it.

Red supergiant Antares shines brilliantly at 1st magnitude near the head of the scorpion. Lying low in the sky, the star provides a distinct marker to pinpoint the location of NGC 6144. The 9th-magnitude globular lies just 38' farther northwest, reaching 9' across with a low surface brightness. If you find NGC 6144 elusive, nudge your telescope northwest until Antares is just out of view to minimize the star’s glare and make NGC 6144 pop out.

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