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!


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