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Thread: M13- "Propeller"

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    Default M13- "Propeller"



    I'm pretty much a visual observer and I especially enjoy viewing deep sky objects. In my opinion M13, the Great Hercules Cluster is one of the most beautiful objects that is easily viewed with most any instrument including binoculars. I was reading an article in the July Sky and Telescope called "Summer Highlights " that described several of the best objects for viewing on these warm, dark nights providing you don't have to deal with the clouds or the moon. The article shows a picture of M13 and it points out that this beautiful globular takes magnification well. Increase the aperture to 10 inches or more and raise the magnification to 100X to 200X and you should be able to see the trio of dust lanes known as "the Propeller" just southeast of the cluster's core. I have never noticed these dust lanes probably because I didn't know what to look for and I was awestruck by the beautiful array of stars! Has anyone here seen the propeller? I'm looking forward to checking it out if we ever get another decent night!
    Clear skies!
    Ed
    Note: I tried to download the picture but the file was too big! Sorry about that!
    Ed
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Great report Ed. I too would love to see that but I only have 5 inches so I don't think I'll see the dust Lanes. I assume I would still be able to see the cluster well with a 5-inch. Is this a correct assumption?
    Thank you for your post. I appreciate the encouragement to go after this.
    Clear skies to you sir!
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Thanks Ed. I'll need to try for that. I saw Phil Harrington was discussing that over on CN, but I haven't read what he was saying yet.
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Excellent report and agreed it is. Yes I have seen the propeller visually.
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    [QUOTE=Eagleheaf;1058505767]Great report Ed. I too would love to see that but I only have 5 inches so I don't think I'll see the dust Lanes. I assume I would still be able to see the cluster well with a 5-inch. Is this a correct assumption?
    Thank you for your post. I appreciate the encouragement to go after this.
    Clear skies to you sir![/QUOTE

    Thanks Mark! You shouldn't have any trouble finding it with a five inch scope. I can easily see it using my ST80A!
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Going to try for the M13 propeller with the C 8 I doubt that the 5.12 inch AT 130EDT will show this but I plan on giving it a try.
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    The "propeller" has been noted as far back at the 1850s, even showing up in T.W. Webb's classic Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes. Most find it easier in 12 inch and larger, but it has been seen with less. I have seen reports of highly experienced observers seeing it with 5 or 6 inches aperture, but that was under conditions that allowed that aperture to resolve stars significantly.

    Here is an excellent image taken by one of our own, Jim Thommes which shows the propeller feature just below and to the left of the center of the cluster. It is a subtle "Y" shape, but unmistakable. You may also notice another subtle line of low stellar density right of the center as well in this image.



    Another feature I will mention just in case some may not be aware are what seem to be five curving streamers of stars emanating outward from the core. These have led some to say it looks like a spider or even a starfish. One session at the dark site, without prompting, my wife said it looks like a ball of stars within a star (the five points of the arms). So I would encourage others to look for those as well if they haven't noticed them already. Also take a look for a streamer of stars that runs across the face of the globular. Some of these more subtle features don't always translate as well to images, being easier to make out with the eye.
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    I have annotated that image with a circle around the "propeller" if any have problems seeing it. Per Jim's description, north is up in the image. You might try squinting your eyes while looking at the image. I find that makes it stand out a wee bit more.



    (Image courtesy of Jthommes.com)
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Thanks for the circle, Alan, and the squinting tip. I can definitely pick it out now. Now I have to go look for it, if I can manage a sky that allows it. Fortunately, Herc is high overhead in the "good" air lately, so that should help.
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    Default Re: M13- "Propeller"

    Quote Originally Posted by bladekeeper View Post
    Thanks for the circle, Alan, and the squinting tip. I can definitely pick it out now. Now I have to go look for it, if I can manage a sky that allows it. Fortunately, Herc is high overhead in the "good" air lately, so that should help.
    Right in Dobson's hole! Yeah, having little to no air mass extinction will be helpful.
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