From the April 2011 issue

Hunting the shadow globes

June 2011: While you’re searching the skies, look out for these ghostly, hard-to-find targets.
By | Published: April 25, 2011 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
M3’s fuzzy glow thrilled the author when he spotted it some 4 decades ago; he now wishes he’d looked for fainter nearby objects.
Neil Fleming

In June 1970, I spotted globular star cluster M3 in Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs with my new 4½-inch Tasco reflector. That night, fair-weather clouds studded the sky. My guide stars, Beta (β) Comae Berenices and Eta (η) Boötis, blinked in and out of view with frustrating irregularity. No matter, I pointed the finder’s cross hairs at the cluster’s position and waited for a hole between the clouds. When one appeared, I swept the scope madly about until — bam! — I caught sight of M3’s fuzzy glow near a 6th-magnitude star.