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    Default 10 Dark Nebulas for the Binoculars: Sagittarius through Cygnus

    Hello friends of binocular astronomy,

    the dark nebulas, easily visible along the summer Milky Way, offer another art of visual experience, as opposed to the bright nebulas. As a rule, I like to train my eyes on those dark patches in rich star fields, before hunting the bright nebulas. Some of the Lynd's dark nebulas are associated with the star birth regions, and are subject of research.

    There are two catalogues of the dark nebulas, the Barnard's catalogue (B), and the Lynd's catalogue of dark nebulas (LDN),
    Barnard's Catalog
    LDN - Lynds Catalog of Dark Nebulae

    A nice selection of the dark nebulas can be found in,
    This page is simply a listing of
    and other sources on the web.

    The dark nebulas require clear skies. Before hunting them, I check the contrast of the Cygnus Great Rift LDN906.

    At the mid-north latitudes, the Small Sagittarius Cloud M24 is one of the amazing bright areas of sky in the south of the Milky Way. The two dark ink spots, B93 at east and B92 at west offer the best pair of the dark nebulas for the binoculars, both seen together in the field of view of the binocular.

    Move to the west of the Scutum Cloud. The B111 between Eta and Beta Scuti is the prominent part of a complex of dark nebulas in front of the star clouds. My nickname is the "Dark Trifid". (Don't miss the bright star cloud NGC6682 to the west.)

    Another celestial wonder is the B142-143 pair of curved dark tubes, west of Gamma Aquilae. The form of the Greek letter Epsilon may be recognized even in 10x50.

    The Fish on the Platter B144 is a very extended dark nebula around Eta Cygni and NE of this star. I can trace it at best with my 15x85. The star clouds to the south of B144 enhance the contrast.

    The wings of the Butterfly Nebula IC1318, W of Gamma Cygni, are separated with a dark lane LDN885.

    The Gulf of Mexico in the North America Nebula is due to the LDN935. The full extent of this dark nebula has a cross form, and it separates the Pelican Nebula from the North America. As a rule, just the Gulf of Mexico around the Little Orion Asterism can be easily fixed.

    Hunting first the LDN885 and LDN935 is helpful to find the associated bright nebulas.

    B155-156 is around, and SW of the bright star Rho Cygni, easy to fix.

    Finally, the "Dark Cigar" B168 shows a high contrast even in small binoculars, like my 7x42. Follow the direction from M39 down to the resolved open cluster NGC7209, and a dark tube with some broadening towards M39 emerges. In fact, B168 ends close to the Cocoon Nebula, not seen in binoculars.

    The visual fixing of the dark nebulas is rewarding, and it may also serve as a qualifier of the quality of the night sky.


    Binoculars: Leica Ultravid 7x42, 8x42HD; Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision; Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe; Docter Nobilem 7x50 Porro; Jenoptem 7x50W, 10x50W; BA8: 10.5x70, 15x85; 25x100FB, AsahiPentax 8x40, Refractors: Sky-Watcher 150mm/750mm; Leica APO Televid 82mm (25x-50x WW ASPH); EPs:Baader Classic Orthos; Fujiyama ortho, Leica B WW, ultrawide zoom ASPH, Periplan GF, HC Plan S, L; DOCTER UWA; Wild UW mil; Tele Vue Delos, Nagler Zoom, Plössls; Swarovski SW; Pentax XW; ZEISS diascope B WW T*, Carl Zeiss E-Pl; Hensoldt mil; Filters: Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader (CCD), TS; Astrophotography: AstroTrac; Leica R7: Leica 2/50, 2/90mm, 2.8/180mm lenses
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