The fifth smallest constellation was introduced in 1690 as „Shield of Sobieski“ and is reminiscent of the Polish king Jan III Sobieski, who stopped the advance of the Turks at Vienna. Today, the rather inconspicuous constellation is known primarily for its magnificent star clouds. The Scutum Star Cloud is the brightest star cloud of the Milky Way outside of Sagittarius. It is touched by the Great Rift of the Milky Way and sometimes referred to as the „Jewel of the Milky Way“. Another great star cloud is located southwest of the constellation. Also pay attention to the star structures in this area!
Although the Wild Duck Cluster M 11 is one of the better known open clusters, it remains in binoculars only a 12 arcmin large nebula in which a single star can be seen. The remaining 500 stars of the 6,200 light-years distant cluster are too faint and too close to each other to be resolved in binoculars. Therefore, the very compact, about 20 light-years distant large star cluster appears like a globular cluster. With 2.4 stars per cubic light-year, it is also similar in density to a globular cluster. M 11 was formed 220 million years ago and is at 5.8m bright enough for the naked eye under ideal conditions. The cluster is located at the northern edge of the Scutum Star Cloud, hence its surroundings deserve a closer look. You can also find several dark nebulae here as dark, star-poor regions.