Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Return to Astronomy!

It seems like so long since I had a proper observing sessions outside with my 10x50s, so even though I had an early start today, a crisp clear sky last night was so tempting that I risked sandpapered eyes to do some astronomy.

Astronomy with company at that, for as I craned my neck skywards, a hedgehog was snuffling invisibly, but loudly, through leaf litter and undergrowth as it hunted for invertebrate treats.

Above, the sky was panther dark and studded with stellar gemstones; the topaz Arcturus, pale sapphire Vega, setting citrine Capella, and the blood ruby of Antares, the heart of the Scorpion low in the South.

But it is only when you turn the binoculars on the sky that the true magic appears. Even at this early stage of summer when it is low in the sky, the Milky Way in Cygnus forms a tumbling river of stars waterfalling down into the North. There is the faint constellation of Coma Berenices, an echelon of faint celestial geese chasing Leo the Lion down into the West.

And then there are the globular clusters, smudgy and grey in binoculars - I observed Messier 3, 5 and 13 last night - but even a small telescope resolves them into glittering balls of stars.

Then when you turn the Hubble onto them, you see this...


Messier 13, courtesy of NASA/ESA/Hubble


  1. A beautiful photo from Hubble Simon. Looking at the universe is very humbling. I am looking forward to going on holiday this summer to somewhere away from light pollution where I might be able to see the Milky Way!!

    I was saddened to hear of the problems you've had at work and hope you are ok - it must have been really unpleasant for you. Such a relief he didn't actually thump you and hope the office move works better for you.

  2. The Universe is free that is what's great about it! You can see a lot with no equipment at all, and a decent pair of binoculars will bring even more into view.

    Thanks for your kind comments, it was an odd sort of episode, but as I said, I'm used to this sort of thing over the years.