Tuesday 27 December 2011

Late Night Astronomy and Messier 44

After a pub visit last night featuring many creatures let out of their christmas cages by their keepers, I was relieved to get home in one piece rather than several, and happy to note that skies were clear enough for me to get the 10x50s out for a bit of an enhanced stargaze.

Once again had good views of Messier 42, The Perseus Double Cluster and Messier 35 (not 34 as I referred to it previously!!!) in Gemini. The main target however was Praesepe, Messier 44 in Cancer. Even on a fairly unfrosty night, the sky conditions were evidently still good and the cluster was quite easily visible with the naked eye using averted vision, and a good view was had in the binoculars...sees to be 4 or 5 brighter stars in a sort of squared off ring in the centre of the cluster, with the fainter stars surrounding. It does rather look like a mini Pleides.

Orion, especially in the belt area, is alive with stars in the 10x50s and Monoceros is rich too - possibly may have spotted Messier 50;


As a nebulous patch containing 2 prominent stars. But I could be wrong.

I did find that I still struggle to really use both eyes with the binoculars, and found that after my half hour observing session my eyes were strained and I had a dizzy-ish headache, so perhaps observing when not used to it and after a fair few drinks over the day is NOT TO BE BLOODY RECCOMMENDED!!!

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