Insomnia Rules OK

Well, I seem to have joined two clubs recently. One is the insomnia club, and the second is the Roger Samworth School of Double Glazing Photography

I was awake in the early hours today and just happened to glance out of the window to see this fantastic sight. It’s (from left to right) Venus, Moon , Jupiter and Antares


NIce, huh?

Observing Log 31/1/2019 @ 01:30 – 02:15 Darnford Park, Lichfield, Andrew Thornett, Vixen SG 2.1 x 42 binoculars

Observing Log 31/1/2019 @ 01:30 – 02:15

Darnford Park, Lichfield

Andrew Thornett


Situated either side of Darnford Lane, Lichfield, Darnford Park covers 190,000 square metres of public open space. The park was developed as part of the Boley Park residential development. Current Location 52º 41′ N 001º 48′ W

It is now 1am and I am having difficulty sleeping so I am going for a walk. Cars around the neighbourhood are all iced up, with temperatures < -6 C. Clear sky although not sure just how clear as up there it looks somewhat misty to me…. I am going to walk to Darnford Park and have got those funny little binoculars Damian and I bought from IAS couple years back with me – they are a modem version of opera glasses with wide field of view and low magnification. They increase resolving power but still give a similar experience to observing the sky with the naked eye as you can move your head easily from side to side without getting disorientated. For someone who is a little short sighted like me, they also allow me to focus properly at infinity. When I wear them, my eyes look like that lady out of Harry Potter – great big orbs in her spectacles! On a side note, gosh the A38 is still so noisy at this time of night! Darnford Park is next to the A38 but I would have expected it to be much quieter at this time of the morning. None off the communing with nature we get at Rosliston Forestry Centre where owls hooting and other forest sounds dominate.

My binoculars are the Vixen SG 2.1 x 42 binoculars with some added some eyecups that Damian found fit to cover the metal eye guard which would be freezing in this weather.

Orion Nebula            , M 42, NGC 1976. The binoculars definitely improved the view compared to the naked eye although of course a telescope – any telescope – would be better with this object!

Pleiades, Seven Sisters, Subaru Cluster            M 45, Mel 22. My eyesight is not as good as it used to be. Mainly related to short sightedness means this object is blur visually but with these binoculars the magnification is only small but they allow me to focus and count 12 stars in M45.

Beehive Cluster, Praesepe            M 44, NGC 2632. Only faintly just visible to the naked eye, it turned into a bright smudge with the binoculars tonight.

Bode’s Nebulae, M 81, NGC 3031, UGC 5318, PGC 28630, MCG 12-10-10, CGCG 333-7, IRAS 09514+6918. Trying it on with binoculars – even using them, neither M81/82/galaxies around Leo or in Virgo cluster/M101/M51 are visible tonight.

Pinwheel Cluster, M 36, NGC 1960. Visible by direct vision with binoculars.

Starfish Cluster, M 38, NGC 1912. Visible by direct vision with binoculars.

NGC 1893. Visible by direct vision with binoculars.

M 37, NGC 2099. More difficult to observe tonight for some reason easier with indirect vision even with binoculars.

M 35, NGC 2168. Seen by direct vision with binoculars.

NGC 2158. The Football to M35’s footballer – of course I was NOT able to see this tonight!

Andromeda Galaxy, M 31, NGC 224, UGC 454, PGC 2557, MCG 7-2-16. Too low down and too much light pollution.

Double Cluster, h Persei    NGC 869, C 14. The binoculars do an excellent job of picking these two clusters out of the sky. They are quite condensed and show up well. Certainly lot easier than trying to observe them tonight with naked eye.

St 2. Just about saw this, I think….Interesting that this was not as easy to observe with the binoculars as the Double Cluster – the Double Cluster stands out due to their condensed groups of stars.

I am now very cold and I had better try and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Got to be up at 6:30!



This astronomy lark seems to be feast or famine; after a few weeks of clouds we suddenly get 2 nights with clear skies! Great to read about others experiences. I had a really enjoyable observing session on Sunday night, plus over Sunday and Monday I was able to image the Rosette (RGB to add to the Ha from a couple of weeks ago), the Soul nebula and Pacman.

Despite getting 3 hours of exposures on the Soul Nebula (I left the camera running overnight and also managed to get 3 hours of pictures of the shed wall!) the initial stack looks like it’s going to be disappointing so I’ve had a go at Pacman instead.

45 mins of guided 5 min subs before the clouds rolled in on Monday night!


Gaps in the clouds.

Swadlincote cloud lands. 200 f6 Orion optics and C6r.

28/1/19 early hours were wonderfully clear , the evening just gave an hour of useable sky. Determined to get something done on the lists building up .

NGC 2420 in Gemini gave a wonderfully compact centre . It’s a Trumpler class I1r open cluster some 2 billion years old . There are very few open clusters of this age. Not only is it found way above the galactic disc , but the stars are odd. They are half the age of our Sun , but similar composition. Thought to be either expelled from the disc or captured by galactic cannibalism. Wait until it gets high to capture its full features.

Zeta Cancri (Tegmine) is a wonderful sight , give it plenty to split the 5.9″ separation into a little over 1″ companion triple element.

Early evening and Auriga rises giving a wonderful view of the Messier clusters , M37 bring the finest. To one side of the constellation you’ll easily find .NGC 1664 ( kite cluster) , think that’s the first time that it actually looked like a kite , quite stunning.

NGC 2281 is a rich favourite Auriga cluster , lots of chains there .

A trip to Ryman’s and I found a Pentel Hybrid white pen. The Works has A5 spiral bound heavy black card notebooks. All we need now is more

clear skies ! Nick.