Power of dark skies.

Glenluce , Dumfries and Galloway.6-7 th October 2018.

Set up in a holiday cottage some 20 miles from the Galloway star party. Overlooking Glenluce Bay , as soon as it got dark , the sky was awesome. So many clusters by eye, the Milky Way was hugely dominant . The rifts, tears and size of our galaxy were amazing , glowing through the Cygnus star cloud , then coming to the coal sac. Cassiopeia had just disappeared in stars. Spent a long time just by eye, especially down to the Galaxy centre in Sagittarius, occluded by clusters. Following the handle of Ursa Major down I found Arcturus , making a kind to the star studded Vega . Along this line , the huge clear arc of Corona Borealis and the keystone of Hercules with an obvious M13. Looking up to Andromeda , M32 was startlingly obvious with the smudge of M33 at the end of Triangulum. The double cluster glowed from mid stream of the MW.

I only had my 15×70 and 8×60 binoculars and a bird spotting scope, no finder . Just slowly and carefully I got the shapes of “Bodes nebula” . M31 just filled the view. M33 gave the central knots and two dominant spirals. M35 was just lost in the bright stream brushing the feet of Gemini. How fantastic to catch the MW brushing Auriga, Orion and Gemini. Open clusters just sparkled , NGC 7789 was a thrilling sight as were the Auriga clusters and the wonderfully buzzing M44. Taurus was ablaze with stars. Managed a very bright M27, M34 and NGC 752 ( one of Caroline Herschel’s in Andromeda).

I phoned up Paul a couple of times to see how the star party was going and give him a nudge to some targets. He said there were 25 there , with a queue at his 5″ frac to see the double cluster.

Packed in , very happy at 3am. I’ve probably missed out more than I could see.  Not so good weather for the rest of the week, but that sky was just memorable ,


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