Thursday, 4 July 2013

New Objects Spotted in the Sky

I realise that the post title makes it sound like I was seeing UFOs or Supernovae, well no such joy, although I did see a pair of bright sporadic meteors. The second, fizzing through the sky from North West to South East from the Zenith into Serpens / Bootes, was an especially good object - noticeable yellow in colour, it seemed to fade before brightening again as it left a very prominent smoke trail.

It was the best summer night sky I've seen in a while, with the milky way and even the Cygnus Rift plainly visible. I kicked off with some familiar objects - Messier 5 and Messier 3 still visible, but a bit lost in twilight. Had an easy view of La Superba though - AT LAST - and it looked noticeably like a glowing coal.

Messier 13 and Messier 92 globulars overhead in Hercules were a fine sight, oddly M92 looked the more impressive in my 10x50s last night. Moving further East, Messier 71 in Sagitta was easy, Messier 27 the Dumbell surprisingly easy,  Messier 39 in Cygnus a fine object as ever, and the Lacerta open cluster who's name I can never remember plainly visible. First sightings on Messier 15 in Pegasus, and The Andromeda Galaxy, reminded me with a faint shudder that although the night was wonderfully wild, Autumn is lurking in the distance.

Tonight, with Cassiopiea rising by 1am, I figured that it was worth my while to have another look for Messier 52 - and this time, using the right hand stars of the W as pointers, I found it as a hazy patch, with no individual stars visible.

I also squinted my head off trying to spot Messier 56 in Lyra. I thought I did...then I thought I didn't.

What I did spot was way below Aquila and Scutum. Having enjoyed spotting the Ophicuchus open clusters, I picked up Messier 11 the Wild Duck, and thought, "Hmmm, I wonder on this clear night, will any any interesting objects be on view in Sagittarius?"

Well, from my garden, of course not. But what I did see was a very wide and attractive binocular double low down, way below Altair. Comprising two orange stars of equal magnitude - probably 5th - at greater than Mizarish separation, it was a lovely sight. I have no idea what this star is, I'm researching it now. I'm guessing it was in Eastern Sagittarius or perhaps Capricornus.

Only a plain old orange double star, maybe only an optical one. But somehow, it made my night

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