Observing , January.

Some decent nights , but the dreaded Jet Stream is not being kind to provide clear and stable skies.

Swadlincote. Celestron 150 f8 refractor (C6r).23mm Panoptic,13mm Nagler and 5.5mm Meade 5000SWA.


Pisces , constellation of the month.

Pisces is out of the path of the Milky Way , poor for deep sky and often over looked. A lovely early evening target it sits high in the south. Comfy enough to take a seat at the scope and enjoy a mass of binary stars. Sissy Haas gives some detailed 27 , 6 of which appear in the top 200 most beautiful stars.

Σ3009 shows a very delicate companion .(SAO 128160)
35 Piscium, yellow and blue at 11.4″ (SAO 109087)
38 Piscium, this is a multiple with a tight A and a dim third companion. Plenty colour in the AB.
51 Piscium, blue white and blue companion (SAO 109262)
55 Piscium, Orange and blue, plenty colour here (SAO 74182)
65 Piscium , Orange pair.
77 Piscium , Orange and white pair (SAO 109666)
psi1(ψ1 ) Piscium, lovely wide yellow pair.(SAO 74482)
ζ (Zeta) Piscium, lovely wide pair (SAO 109739)
Σ155 Piscium , 4.9″ split picked up in the 102 at x40. Also picked out the delicate companion to 42 Piscium.
There are plenty more targets here , enough for a very pleasant and comfortable evening’s viewing .

The best of Aries.

After some years of chasing fuzzies and easily picking out Triangulum and M33 , it was a joy to drop down and explore the stars of Aries. The last couple of nights I revisited some of the best and a couple of new to me Struves, Σ326 and Σ394.
1 Arietis, gives a yellow and blue at 2.9″.
γ (Mesartim), a favourite and rightly known as the twin “rams eyes”.
λ Arietis (SAO 75051) is wide and delicate.
14 Arietis (SAO 75171) gives a wide triple.
30 Arietis (SAO 75471) gives yellow and blue at 38.7″.
Σ 291 gives a triple.
π Arietis (SAO 93127) gives a straight line triple.
41 Arietis gives a straight line quadruple.
Σ326 at 02h56.7m. +26 56′ gives a 4.8″ split.
Σ394 gives a yellow and blue 6.8″ at 03h29.0m. +20 31′.
Plenty action herd and caught right a comfy seat at the scope to enjoy.

A tour for our granddaughter.

Chilly out there , seeing was decidedly wobbling at times. Started off with our eldest granddaughter appearing and asking for the sky tour. Kicked off with a lovely bright clear disc of Uranus, “can you see it by eye ?”.

Then chose some highlights high up to avoid not reaching the focuser. Started with M31 at x30 , that got a “wow”.Onto Bode’s , told me the shapes and brightness. Quite some detail in M82.

Chose 30 Arietis and the stunning “Piazzi’s flying double” of 61 Cygni. Strange to see the Summer Triangle still up. The “Blue Snowball” in Andromeda provided amusement , not only commented on as being blue, but magically disappearing with direct vision , “magic !” Did the same trick with the “Eskimo” in Gemini.

Our young observer had pointed out the Pleiades and got counting , young eyes ! We had a scanning look at x30. What else to amuse ? The double cluster put the focuser nice and low and got another wow. M35 filled the screen and NGC 2169 ” it’s a 37 !”

Suitably returned to the warm , I continued the tour with the Trapezium, NGC 1981 and “Hagrid’s Dragon ” the glorious NGC 2301 in Monoceros. Caught NGC 2244 and 2264 as in the area. The sickle was up and I found Ceres, the size of India at 1.7AU.

Returning to Aries , I caught Σ326 and yellow and blue Σ394.Difficult serving made it difficult to split Tegmine, but M67 provided a lovely sight.

Good to have keen young eyes out there , quite a challenge to pick out highlights from the usual obscure under clear skies ! Nick.

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