Friday 13 January 2012

Messier Hunting

Or rather two sessions.

First was midnight last night, where a waning gibbous moon was the target for my 10x50s. Too bad I've got a fearfully shaky grip, which makes seeing details really difficult! Two big craters were easily defined on the terminator though, perhaps craters like Langrenus or Petavius. The moon made deep sky viewing difficult, and air conditions weren't great either.

So, earlier tonight, shivering and fresh off my bicycle from yet another unrewarded day at work, I got the binoculars and went on a  deep sky object hunt.

The three open clusters in Auriga were my target, and I reckon I picked up Messier 38 despite the neighbours deploying the outside light to scare away non existent demons of the early evening. These Messier objects in Auriga are always a bit of a confuser for me, I remember looking at M38 in my 6in reflector years ago, supposing it was M38 as it was the brightest! For all I know I was looking at reflected nodules on my retina or something.

Messier 35 in Gemini was also easy to find, as was The Andromeda Galaxy - the satellites are a bit much for my shaky hands. The Double Cluster in Perseus is an easy view, and The Alpha Perseii cluster looks great in binoculars, like a half Hyades. Didn't even know that was such a thing until fairly recently. Looks cool though!

With clearer skies and darker non terrified neighbour settings, wondering infMessier 1 The Crab Nebula is possible, or Messier 33?

What is possible, a whole lot of whatever, is that I can have a Dark and Stormy or a Cuba Libre, or some other nice drink while I observe. And I shall!

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