einführung observing guide objekte sommer objekte winter daten



sharpless objekte sommer




Sharpless 6

This is not an HII region, but the planetary nebula NGC 6302, the Bug Nebula.

Bright PN with distinct shape. At my latitude, only little detail is visible due to the low elevation only slightly above horizon.


field size 0.3°



Sharpless 8

This is the HII region NGC 6334, named the Cat's Paw Nebula due to its peculiar shape.

From my latitude, this object is only slightly above the horizon, three nebulous patches around stars could be discerned with difficulty using UHC filtering.

field size 1°



Sharpless 11

This is the HII region NGC 6357, dubbed the War and Peace Nebula. It surrounds the Wolf-Rayet star WR 93.

From my latitude, only the small central part of this large HII region could be observed. With OIII, this part is relatively bright and appears not homogeneous, but distinctly mottled.


field size 1°


Sharpless 25/29/30/31/32

East of the Lagoon-Nebula M8 (Sh 25) with its superbright Hourglass-Region are several more dimmer regions. The eastern part from top to bottom:

Sh 29: RN around star, with H beta crescent shaped part in NE/SW direction, the RN part towards NW was not observed

Sh 31: visible with H beta as a faint glowaround star

Sh 32, visible both with H beta (HII part) and without filter (RN Part)

The Trifid Nebula (Sh 30)  is the bright knot in the upper right corner.


field size 3°


The lower HST image shows the central region of M8, the so-called Hourglass-Nebula. As evident from the HST image, the peculiar shape of this region is due to dark structures superimposed to the bright central part of the emission nebula.

Sharpless 35 and 37

Sh 37 is a large complex comprising several emission and reflection nebula.

IC 1283, the HII part of this molecular cloud is difficult and was only suspected as a weak glow around a small clump of stars. There are two RN associated with this molecular cloud: NGC6595 is a bright RN around two stars of similar brightness, NGC6589/90 is a somewhat weaker RN around an unequal pair of stars.

Sh 35 is a large HII region extending from this area towards SW.



field size 1°


Sharpless 45

This is M17, the Swan or Omega Nebula.

Very bright nebula with wide extensions in particular toward E from the main mass.


Image by Dean Salman.

field size 0.7°


Sharpless 49

This is M16, the Eagle Nebula.

Besides the nebula and the associated OC, there are several dark structures visible: The dark notch from N is easy. The Star Queen or Pillars of creation are more difficult, two pillars of different length could be traced with OIII filter, the third and shortest one was observed close to the bright star and was the most difficult.

There is another dark pillar in the E part (dubbed "Brennendes Schwein" from its appearance on Hubble images).


Image by Dean Salman and HST (modified )


field size 1°


Sharpless 52

This is the planetary nebula Abell 65.

At 200x and with OIII filter, Abell 65 is an obvious elongated patch of light. Response to OIII is better than to UHC, the PN is faintly visible even w/o filter. Nice asterism nearby.


field size 0.2°


Sharpless 54

This is a large HII region containing the open cluster NGC 6604 towards its S edge  and a small bright nebulous patch Simeis 3-132 towards its N edge.

Simeis 3-132 (the "Egg") is the most distinct part of this nebula and appears as a bright nebulous knot with internal structure.



field size 1°


Sharpless 68

Sharpless 68 is a relatively bright PN with Run-Away central star. Its central star is moving and drags the PN through the interstellar medium (ISM), loosing material on its way (see here and here). This trail through the ISM is marked by the HII structures with their relatively low excitation energy. OIII structures with their higher excitation energy are visible only immediately around the hot central star.

At the eyepiece, Sharpless 68 is one of the easier of the large PN. With OIII filter, it appears as a faint glow with even surface brightness and diffuse edge. The HII emission trailing towards N (see Dean Salman's image) is not visible but can be discerned as a very faint structure on the DSS image to the left.


For more information on these large PN, see here.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 71

This is not an HII region, but a planetary nebula.

Distinct patch around star, visible even without filter, best with UHC. A dark area around star is suspected, that extends towards S, this notch is difficult.

None of the two stars visible in the image is the central star. The white dwarf is between the two and has mag 19.


field size 0.3°


Sharpless 78 

This is the large PN Capellaro-Turatto-Salvadori-Sabbadin 3 (CTSS 3) in Aquila.

Extremely faint object bordered by two stars. SW section is better defined and roughly rectangular, NE section is larger and more diffuse. Responds best to UHC, but is also visible with OIII and H beta.

For more information on these large PN, see here.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 80

This is a Wolf-Rayet shell around WR124, Merrill's star.

Under excellent conditions, at 200 and 350x visible without filter as a very faint shell, small contrast gain with H beta filter.


For more information on Wolf-Rayet shells see here.

field size 0.2°

Sharpless 82

Sometimes termed Little Cocoon Nebula.

Very diffuse glow without filter (RN part) , with H beta filter somewhat brighter and more compact. Similar to Cocoon, but much fainter.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 84

This is a large HII region with a brighter crescent shaped center. At 100x and with OIII, this brighter part visible as a very faint patch.

SW of it is the extremely faint shell of the Wolf-Rayet shell around WR 128 (for more information see here).


(mouseover for annotated image)


field size 1.5°

The Big Picture: Sharpless in the Cygnus region

This image stretches over 25° of sky in  the Cygnus region and gives you a grand view of the Sharpless nebula in this area.

click for large image

Sharpless 86

Visible with OIII, H beta and UHC, large and very structured nebula around small cluster, prominent dark lane on image only suspected


field size 1.5°

Sharpless 88

The main HII region is a very large and vague crescent-shaped patch best visible with H beta (western part).

The SE part (N of a brighter star) consists of two very faint glows around stars, which are best visible w/o filter and hence mostly reflection nebula.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 91/94/96

The  G 65.3+5.7 supernova remnant (SNR) is situated just north of Albireo and hence easy to locate. Parts of the SNR were catalogued by Stewart Sharpless as entries Sharpless 91, 94, and 96.

The entire SNR has a diameter of roughly 3° and hence a similar size as the Veil Nebula. The filamentous structure is very similar as well, it is, however, considerably fainter. This is partly due to the larger distance of about 2500 LYs as compared with 1500 LYs for the Veil. Furthermore, G 65.3+5.7 is with an estimated age of 30000 years considerably older and more evolved as compared with the Veil, that has an estimated age of about 7500 years. The power of SNR G 65.3+5.7 is already considerably declining.


More information about this SNR is here.


field size 5°

Sharpless 95

This is the planetary nebula NGC 6842.

It appears as a very small and relatively bright patch. No central star. Square shape. UHC better than OIII, H beta not useful. Is already faintly visible w/o filter.


field size 0.1°

Sharpless 101

With H beta, a structured nebula extends from the two closer and the single star towards NW as a fairly distinct glow. Dark notch from SE.


field size 1°


Sharpless 103

This is the Veil Nebula, the Cygnus Loop supernova remnant.


field size 4°


Sharpless 104

This shell was best visible at 5mm exit pupil with H-beta filter and appeared as a round, milky glow around three stars.


field size 4°


Sharpless 105

This is NGC 6888, the Crescent nebula, a ring nebula surrounding the Wolf-Rayet star WR 136.

Best response to OIII, but also visible w/o filter. Spectacular WR shell with internal filaments, a central bar extends over central star,  two patches in SW part, several knots along NW rim. Shell is closed, there is an extrusion on NW side towards star (breakout structure).


More information about WR shells is here. Visit also the nearby carbon star RS Cygni, forming a nice pair with a bluish star.

field size 4°


Sharpless 106

Sharpless 106 appears on images as a wonderful biolar nebula about 3 degrees SW of Gamma Cygni. Even on the DSS, the nebula appears quite bright and should therefore be an easy object at the eyepiece.

That's the theory. In practice this object has challenged me during many observing sessions, using all available filters. But I failed in detecting even the apparently bright southern lobe of it.

Entering at some point Friedl Lamprecht, who adviced use no filter at all. Et voila, there it was, though still not an easy object. Using 350x with my 22" Dob, the southern lobe was visible using indirect vision as a very faint extended object. It dissappeared as as soon as I switched from unfiltered to UHC using my filter slide.

Even though Sharpless 106 looks like a regular bipolar PN, it isn't. It is not a pure emission nebula, but obviously involves a major amount of light scattered by dust particles, such that chances for successful observation are best unfiltered.

The unusual bipolar shape of the nebula is the consequence of a buried young OB star, which is surrounded by a thin disk of matter, confining the light of the star along the axis of the disk. The molecular cloud into which the star is embedded is an active star forming region with a number of YSOs.


More about YSOs is here and here is a paper by Klaus Hodapp about Sharpless 106

field size 0.3°

Sharpless 108

This is the large HII complex in the direction of gamma Cygni.



field size 5°


The Gamma Cygni complex Sharpless 108 / IC 1318 consists of several distinct parts.

Brightest parts include the butterfly nebula (e and d) with its brightest part in the NE, H beta, also visible with OIII. Another even brighter part is NW of gamma Cyg (b). Many other patches responding to H beta, UHC or OIII (mainly S of gamma Cyg, part f).

Sharpless 112

Distinct nebula already w/o filter, better with UHC, dark border to NW and SW


field size 1°

Sharpless 117

The North America Nebula, NGC 7000. Can already be seen naked eye with OIII or UHC filter. Spectacular HII landscape with the telescope at low mag. Responds well to OIII and UHC. Don't miss the nearby Pelican and the other patches SW.

field size 6°

Sharpless 119

This huge HII region is east of the North America Nebula, bending around 68 Cygni

With H beta and 80x, under excellent conditions, this HII region is very distinct. Patchy nebula W of 68 Cygni, curves around N of star and forms long streak along E side towards S. E part appears smoother than W and N part, which are more patchy.


field size 5°

Sharpless 125

This is the Cocoon Nebula, a faint emission/reflection globule at the end of a long dark cloud.

The Cocoon is visibly already w/o filter as a weak glow around a little group of stars. This is the RN part of the nebula. Emission nebula is most prominent with H beta. At very low magnification, the nebula can be observed as one end of a distinct dark filament. 


field size 1°

The Big Picture: Sharpless in the Cepheus/Cassiopeia region

This image stretches over 25° of sky in  the Cassiopeia/Cepheus region and gives you a grand view of the Sharpless nebula in this area.

click for large image

Sharpless 128

At 200x with UHC, small nebulous patch, relatively obvious, slightly oval.


field size 0.1°

Sharpless 129

Under excellent conditions, this is a very distinct loop with H beta filter, bright part NE of central star group, long filaments from there towards NE, patchy area SE of central star group.


Superimposed to this HII ring is Outters 4, a huge and probably the closest PN, emitting exclusively in OIII and visible only in the lower image by Nicolas Outters.


field size 4°

Sharpless 131

This is a large HII region around the star cluster IC 1396 with several distinct dark patches.

The Elephant Trunk Nebula IC 1396a with the superimposed reflections nebula VdB 142 (lower image) is part of it and visually a very difficult object. An extremely faint bright rim could be detected at the S edge of the dark filament. E end of filament could not be seen.


field size 4°

Sharpless 132

This is a HII region excited by two Wolf-Rayet stars, WR 153 and WR 152.

WR 153 is at the center of the actual Sharpless nebula. Appears with OIII filter as a very large faint nebula with round dark structure to the E.

WR 152 is a bit offset from the main nebula and situated in the center of a high ionization region emitting mainly in OIII and hardly visible in the DSS image. It is marked in the lower, inverted image. This extension increases the size of the nebula to around 1.5° (OIII emission is hardly visible in the DSS image).

The lower image shows an OIII frame of this area.


field size 2°

Sharpless 135

Very faint, crescent-shaped glow with H-beta filter.


field size 1°

Sharpless 136

This is the Gespenster-Nebel or Ghost Nebula. Best w/o filter, faint RN around bright star. Only very central part visible, extensions (Gespenster) not visible.


field size 0.3°

Sharpless 140

Very difficult object, needs excellent conditions. Under rural skies, I only suspected the central part.


field size 1.5°

Sharpless 142

Nice cluster with surrounding emission nebula. There is a dark notch from W to E in the S part.


field size 1.5°

Sharpless 148 and 152 and friends

This is a group of Sharpless nebula of which only Sharpless 148 and 152 are distinct objects.

Sh 152 best w/o filter, Sh 148 with H beta, other Shs unsuccessful.


field size 1°

Sharpless 155

This is the Cave Nebula.

Most obvious without filter, strong contribution of RN, appears as a weak N-S elongated glow along a chain of stars with dark cloud to E. There are further RNe in the area.


field size 1.5°

Sharpless 156

This is the small but bright emission nebula IC 1470.

With 13mm asymetric disc around star, visible already w/o filter, better with UHC.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 157

Sharpless 157 is not far from the Bubble Nebula in an area of the Cassiopeia/Cepheus border with many other emission nebula. It is excited by the Wolf-Rayet star WR 157. With OIII filter, the main filament forms a large and visually obvious milky streak that is surrounded by other fainter filaments.


The brightest OIII part of the nebula is the extension that trails from the central part for about one degree towards north. In the low power eyepiece equipped with OIII filter, this long feature is immediately visible upon field sweeping (as it is very large) as a long milky bar that usually requires moving your telescope to scan its entire length. Distinct markers are the fan shaped open cluster Markarian 50 to the west and NGC 7538, a very bright and distinct small nebula about one degree north of it.

Just east of this main part is another, smaller nebulous patch (OIII). West of the main filament is another shorter and fainter filament (OIII). South of it are another two large, but diffuse areas (best with H-beta), with a small bright knot in between. This knot (sometimes referred to as Sh2-157a)  shines in HII and is a  distinct object without filter or with H beta filter.

Very detailed narrow band images of this area have been taken by Richard Crisp and Dean Salman. Richard Crisp's image of 2004 has actually stimulated my interest in observing this object and all the other Sharpless objects that followed over time.


field size 1.5°

Sharpless 158 and 159

This is NGC 7538, just W of the Bubble Nebula and N of Sharpless 157. A bright knot of nebulosity, well visible w/o filter, responds well to OIII. Sharpless 159 is the fainter nebula to the lower left.


field size 1°

Sharpless 162

This is the Bubble Nebula, NGC 7635, excited by a hot O6 star.

With OIII filter, the central part of the EN around the star is relatively easy. A fainter, diffuse halo extends to the N. The bubble itself could be traced at least for a 90° arc E of the star.


field size 1°

Sharpless 168/169

Group of two emission nebula, of which Sharpless 169 is extremely faint.

At 200x and with  H-beta filter, the central part of Sharpless 168 appeared as a round knot next to a pair of stars, Sharpless 169 was not visible.


field size 0.5°

Sharpless 170

This Strömgren sphere is around a hot O8 star.

With 7mm exit pupil and H-beta filter, the field showed a V-shaped asterism with E/W and NNE/SSW oriented rows of stars. S of the E/W row and extending beyond the NNE/SSW row, there was a large, diffuse round glow. Extremely faint.


field size 1°

Sharpless 171

This is a huge HII region, consisting of NGC 7822 (N) and Ced 214 (S) and the central cluster Berkeley 59 (note that many modern sources identify the southern area with NGC 7822, while Herschel likely referred to the northern one in his original notes).

7822 is visible as a very faint large glow of roughly rectangular shape using the H beta filter. Ced 214 is considerably brighter and visible as a distinct EN around an OC, responds well to OIII filter.


field size 5°

Sharpless 173

At 7 mm exit pupil and with H beta: Extremely faint, ring shaped glow. Ring is not complete and has a darker hole between two main stars. This darker hole is actually the most distinct feature.


field size 1°

Sharpless 174

Sharpless 174 has a size of about 10'x15' and belongs hence to the very large planetary nebula. Its central star has a relatively large proper motion. During its movement through the interstellar matter, the PN looses part of its shell which is left behind as a trail visible in HII light. The central star is therefore no longer in the center of the HII-emitting part of the PN. Due to the apparent lack of a central star. Sh2-174 was mis-classified for some time as an HII region. The part of the nebula, that shines in OIII light is, however, concentric around the hot central star. The parts of the PN that are visible in HII and OIII light appear therefore slightly displaced (see animation to the left).

This displacement is visible at the eyepiece. The PN is quite faint, but still bright enough to allow for a detection of the slight displacement when switching from H beta to OIII filter. The disk of the PN appears diffuse without clear edges. OIII emission is displaced to the NW, while H beta and hence HII emission is more extended and displaced towards SE, in agreement with the narrow band images. Using an UHC filter, both components appear simultaneously, yielding a round appearance of the PN.


Images by Stephane Zoll

Sharpless 184

This is NGC 281.

Bright emission nebula with interesting dark structure. Responds well to OIII filter. Southern dark band extending from the W into the nebula with two extensions toward N and E. Another dark structure on N side, curving toward SE into nebula. 


field size 2°

Sharpless 185

This entry comprises IC 59 and 63.

Both nebulae, IC 59 and IC 63 are very faint. They are partly RN and visible w/o filter, but respond also to the UHC/H beta filter. IC 63 is best viewed with H beta, IC 59 with UHC filter.


field size 2°

Sharpless 188

Simeis 22 belongs to the apparently largest planetary nebula and is one of the brighter ones of the illustrious list of the large PN. Its diameter is 10' and, with OIII filter, it appears as a large crescent-shaped brightening, so to say a dimmer version of the Medusa Nebula, Abell 21. In contrast to Abell 21, the crescent does not appear closed visually. Under very good conditions, single filaments are at the edge of detection, giving the PN a somewhat striated appearance.

More about large PN is here.


field size 1°


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einführung observing guide objekte sommer objekte winter daten