Saturday 2 June 2012

I bore the Serpent and tamed the Wild Duck

My runs lately have not produced much in the way of excitement apart from beautiful clouds of swifts and the odd butterfly - my broken bicycle (now fixed) prevented hoped for excursions to Langford, and Rutland Water at Whitwell is a bit sterile.

Dragonflies just not showing around here at all! Broad Bodied Chasers in swarms down south by the sound of things, nothing at all here yet!

Two nights ago, had a great nights astronomy observing when arriving home at 2am and finding a decently starry night in progress - the first quarter moon low, and the twilight not yet disturbing the North-West. Out with the 10x50s and a cider.

Despite this, the moon prevented sightings of Messier 5 and Messier 3 - there was a little bit of high cloud about, and a bit of general smoggy town haze too. However, Ophiuchus occupied the gap between the Oak and the Sycamore, and I was able to pick up IC4665 faintly near Beta - Cebalrai. But further East, near a quadrilateral of I guess 6th magnitude stars, was a more compressed looking hazy unresolved open cluster. Later investigation revealed this to be NGC 6633 near the border with Serpens Caput.

I thought I picked up another cluster further east, a fainter smudge. There is an IC cluster around there, may have been that but need darker skies to confirm.

Having another look for Messier 5 I didn't find it, but came across a very orange red star that kept catching my attention, maybe the K class Alpha.

Had another doomed look for Messier 57 and 56 in Lyra, but just about got Messier 71 in Sagitta with averted vision. A treat here was the coathanger in nearby Vulpecula - so prominent! and strangely cute! It's a bit of an upside down coathanger.

Finally, getting a bloody tree out of the way, got a glimpse of Messier 11 The Wild Duck in Scutum! Low, so not as impressive as I expected, although I wasn't expecting wonders. The glorious milky way down south, which I have seen in 7x50s in the South of France, is never going to show well from my house, nor the things in it.

But I still enjoyed looking, and always will.

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