Bignor Hill, Sussex Downs, near Bognor Regis, 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,
Andrew Thornett and Kevin Stone.
Equipment: Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm OTA on Manfrotto photo tripod and video head with counter-balance arm added and choice of series of counter-balance weights, 8x50mm finder scope, Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom eyepiece, Tele Vue 8-24mm eyepiece attached to Tele Vue 2x Barlow lens (giving equivalent of 4-12mm zoom -reason for separate zoom eyepiece on Barlow lens is for convenience during swapping eyepieces), Sky Safari 6 Pro software on iPad.
The family and me are on holiday in Bognor Regis visiting old friends from when Ean Ean and I lived in Chichester. Tonight, I took one such old friend out for his first ever observing session with a telescope.
Bright Moon just over half full, Milky Way visible overhead, dark sky observing location which would have been brilliant for DSOs had it not been for substantial light pollution from the moon……but perhaps at the end of the week if clear……..who knows?
Andromeda Galaxy,M 31,NGC 224,UGC 454,PGC 2557,MCG 7-2-16,CGCG 535-17,2MASS 00424433+4116074,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Big bold and beautiful. We also saw M32 in orbit. A chance to discuss galaxy formation and the latest idea that M32 is the centre of a much larger cannibalised galaxy by M31.
I could also just see M108 but that was a but too much for Kevin to be able to pick out of the sky – too faint for him.
Albireo,$b1 Cyg,6 Cyg,HR 7417,HD 183912,SAO 87301,BD +27 3410,HIP 95947,STFA 43,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Introduced Kevin to double star observing with this particular pairing and discussed colour and star temperature and its implication for star development and age.
Double Double Star in Lyra,$e1 Lyr,4 Lyr,HR 7051,HD 173582,SAO 67310,BD +39 3509,HIP 91919,STF 2382,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Who couldn’t discuss double stars without looking at the Double Double?
Mars,4,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Dark central continent evident even at the low magnifications available to us tonight. Sky and Telescope magazine’s online Mars Profiler tool demonstrated that this was Syrtis Major.
Ring Nebula,M 57,NGC 6720,ARO 9,PK 063+13.1,PN G063.1+13.9,VV 214,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,First time Kevin had seen the objects tonight and this included the Ring Nebula, giving him another wow moment. Smoky ring in Equinox 80.
Pleiades, Seven Sisters, Subaru Cluster,M 45,Mel 22,Current Location 50º 47′ N 000º 41′ W,50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,Bright in binoculars and telescope at low power. Kevin was able to compare the view through the telescope, naked eye and binoculars. We discussed star formation and open clusters and our own Sun.
Moon,301, 50.783090627813934,-0.6827541544616841,0,0,0,We finished with a stunner – the Moon! The craters with high walls, central peaks, and often overlying smaller craters led to discussions about the formation of the Moon, ageing its structures and day and night on the Moon.
Kevin’s conclusions: On the way home, Kevin told me that there were no negative parts of the session. Most exciting had been the double star colours as he had not expected much difference between them. This surprised me together with his next statement that viewing the Andomeda Galaxy was the last interesting aspect of the session. His reasoning behind that was that galaxies are fuzzy and in distinct. He had found my brief discussion of the astrophysics illuminating and helpful. I will include more double and coloured stars in my outreach sessions from now on!