|M22: Globular Star Cluster (Sagittarius) RA: 18h 36.4m / DEC: -23° 54'.2|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
It was described by LeGentil in 1747 as "very irregular, long-haired, and spreading some kind of rays of light all around its diameter." Charles Messier described this same object 15 years later as a "round nebula without stars." Guess who had the better telescope.
M22 is among the ten best globular clusters in the heavens. This 5.2 magnitude jewel is larger than the full Moon and a stunning object in any amateur telescope. It is also easily found, residing just 2.5 degrees northeast of 2.8 magnitude Lambda Sagittarii, the star at the top of the Teapot asterism. My sketch was made at 190X and records the central core of the cluster. When I found LeGentil's description, I was immediately struck by the similarity between his experience and mine. The structure is just overwhelming. Ribbons of light highlighted by strings of faint stars lay tangled across the face of this wonder. M22 is a must-see object in the summer sky.
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Revised: February 10, 2002 [WDF]