Dob on Skye.

Awoke at 2am, pulled open the curtains and I could see was stars ! Got out and set up. Looking around the sky was the darkest one that I’ve seen.

Could hardly make out Leo for stars, under Leo the sparkling web of the Coma Berenices. Using the Pocket Sky Atlas and Telrad, it was easy to star hop to galaxies.

I love the Canes Venatici galaxies, “The Whale”(NGC 4631) crossed the fov with the “Hockey stick”( NGC 4656/57) just out of view. Had superb views of the old favourites, M94, M106, NGC 4244,4214,4111,4490 with 4485,4449 and 5005. M51 was gorgeous with structure and the “bridge ” to NGC 5195.

Then onto Leo and a happy looking Triplet . Up to Bode’s , both stunningly bright and detailed. M109 and M97 showed up as did many galaxies in a sweep of the UMa and Virgo bowls. A keen Easterly sprung up and it was a bit nippy to draw. To the east , a long torn and very bright Milky Way passed through Cassiopeia. A lovely view of “Caroline’s Rose” caught in a dense starfield. I kept looking around , by eye the view was like a deep blue planetarium gone black ! The globular clusters M13, M53 and M3 ( halfway from Arcturus to Cor Caroli) were like sparkling diamonds on a black velour sofa ( reminds self to be careful with the vacuum ).

Skye is an odd place. Been up every year since 1971 and I can’t remember masses of clear sky. The landscape and Dragon in law and family make up for it. There are accessible places away from any light pollution that will just amaze .

A fantastically dark site under clear skies ! Nick.

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