Discovered photographically on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Sky Survey, E456-SC38 was reclassified as a globular by Djorgovski in 1987.based on a CMD (color-magnitude diagram. What's particularly interesting is the location - just 21' WNW of NGC 6520/B86! (one of the most prominent dark nebulae in the sky). At 140x, E456-SC38 showed up as a faint, oval glow ~1.5'x1.1' with no hint of resolution other than one or two faint stars glimpsed at the edges. At 220-280x, it appeared oriented SW-NE and stands out well with averted vision with a fairly sharp outline but appeared more like a faint patch of nebulosity than a globular. A few mag 15+ field stars were visible at the edges - the easiest at the SW end and a second star at the NE edge. One of two other threshold stars are superimposed.
The rich milky way background is quite prominent in the field except in the vicinity of the globular which appears nestled in a darker "hole" defined by four brighter stars. The globular is sandwiched within a small trapezoid defined by a mag 9 star to the south, a close double star 2.5' NNW and two mag 10 stars bracket the cluster on the west and east sides.
Not much is visible in my 17.5-inch: Arp 2 appeared as an extremely low surface brightness glow with a very small brighter core, perhaps 2' diameter, situated in a rich star field. At moments, a faint star or knot was visible at the center. A distinctive 1.5' clump of five faint stars 5.5' NNE provides a good reference to center the globular.
This spectacular Hickson Compact Group was voted as a favorite HST image in a public web poll! The Hubble telescope reveals the brightest member (ESO 597-G36) is an edge-on with a prominent dust lane. With my 17.5-inch, though, it was pretty faint, fairly small, elongated SW-NE, 0.9'x0.3', with a very low even surface brightness. A mag 14/15 double star at 13" separation lies 1' NW. A close companion (HCG 87B) is collinear with the major axis close off the SW end. Can anyone make out the dust lane visible on the HST image?
The "Elephant's Trunk" is an unusual cometary globule (associated with star formation) on the west side of the huge but faint HII complex, IC 1396. This is a tough object and requires transparent skies and lots of patience! The most contrasty view was at 100x using a UHC filter, where a 15'x5' lane was evident oriented WSW-ENE, particularly by gently rocking my scope back and forth. The "tail" of the globule or elephant's "trunk" heads west and is weakly illuminated on the edges, particularly on the south side. Near the "head" is a mag 9 star (SAO 33573) and a pretty double star to the west was embedded in the lane. With careful viewing the "trunk" shows variations in width and opacity.