Observing report 19/1/18

Swadlincote, Celestron 150 f8 frac.

Welcome the unexpected visitor armed with binoculars, cake and plenty questions. No panic, the sky to me ,wasn’t it’s best. Fourth session this year , a couple of years back I managed 15 in January.

You can’t really ignore the guy a few doors away who starts cutting up patio slabs at 9, the eye watering intoxicating fumes of smokey substance wafting across. Then there’s the 10,000 Watt security light next door that bleaches Orion out. Ignore constant freight air traffic to EMS.

Questions ? “Winter Albireo, can we have a look , we won’t get the one under Sirius yet ?” ” Can you show me where “Kemble’s Cascade “is ? ” Can we look at some colourful and interesting binaries ?” Err, that’ll be a big grin and a yes from me. First comment “wow , what a sky , you’re lucky”.

Walk this way , open the light absorbing curtains to the observing arena. Don’t move around too much , one day I’ll replace the slabs with concrete, just before Hell freezes over. Ignore the guy with the angle grinder and don’t breathe in too deeply as you’re driving back . Just close your eyes when everything goes white and ignore the sky in the south west, arc lights from the golf driving range . Ignore the fact that folk don’t have curtains , enjoy.

Enjoy by constellations.

Auriga. The lovely overlooked diamond and colours to the open cluster NGC 2281. M37. Always a treat.

Gemini. ” The Eskimo” NGC 2392, take it up to x216 for the central star and the hood . No better with an Oiii filter. It’s some 3000 light years away.M35 , stunning.  Mu Geminorum,good red primary. Wasat , spot the companion out of the primary glare, historical star , nearby Herschel found Uranus in 1781. 38 Geminorum ,great triple.

Perseus. Double cluster at x30 ” could just sit here and look at this”.

Cepheus .The “Garnet Star”, gasp of wow. I put a 4.5inch aperture mask on ( looked better on the scope!) to pull the colour out.

“Kemble’s Cascade”, top span on Cassiopeia. Go that span to the left. As it’s now upright .That’ll be above it,a bit of neck ache and a few nearly fallings over ,but the chain to the pole is there. Good in 8×40 bins, easy find.

Monoceros. Again NGC2301, “Hagrid’s Dragon”, fill the eyepiece at x100. Wings , neck and landing wheels.  Beta Monocerotis, our most beautiful triple, but seeing wasn’t that good. NGC2264 and the Christmas tree,bit bleached by town lights. Humidity was taking away some contrast.

Orion. We put in the Oiii, but there was plenty green colour to nebulosity without it.NGC2169 and the reversed “37”. NGC 1981, sigma Orionis and a binocular view of Meissa. New one for me, go half a degree south of Betelgeuse and there are the lovely wide twins of Σ817 (SAO 113266) , with Betelgeuse to the side of the view, tasty .We dropped down to Lepus to get “Hind’s Crimson”, not at its best guessing it was at the low bit of variability.

Cancer, iota, the other “Winter Albireo “, another wow, on with mask and a long lingering observe of this most glorious of colourful wide pairs. M44 filled the view, now visible by eye, sky was getting better. A fine view of Ceres, we checked against SkySafari, caught by a triangle of stars.

Taurus. ” those two close stars in Hyades are they binary ?”, yep , only a few visible by eye. Time to point out that Aldebaran is half way to us and not a member of the cluster. 59 Tau gave blue and gold (SAO 76573) and it was a delightful stunning view of another double double ,Σ7 and Σ401 (SAO 75979) that kept us looking. These are paralell and different. Why folk try to chase fuzzy things from the edge of town escapes me, when there are easy and beautiful targets given by clusters and binaries.

Ursa Major . 65 UMa (SAO 43945), an old favourite and a lovely triple. Σ 1603, because they are alone in the fov, they do look like headlights in the dark. “Bode’s”, M81 looked better than its neighbour.

If you collect info, it’ll come in useful to share the views. Here’s some I made earlier !
Light cloud was coming in and within minutes , it went from nicely dark to gone. Very interesting session,we managed a few more of the best and most colourful binaries. We hit quite a few of the 200 most beautiful double star  list.

To have a very appreciative observer is a great bonus, to select from the very best of the sky gave us some great views, under clear skies !

1 Response

  1. Sounds fantastic, Nick! You’ve not said who your unexpected visitor was – clearly someone with an interest in astronomy! Brilliant – to have managed four observing sessions in last 21 days – just goes to show that there are clear nights in UK if we are prepared to make use of them.

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