Gosh, it got cold. Well, my hands did. Well, I didn’t notice until I came in after near three hours. Still, seeing was reasonable, and I did mostly visual stuff, aside from another abortive imaging session, due to not focussing properly.

Time out: 22:15 – 00:40

Alignment: Castor/Pollox/Vega (when not-quite dark) and added Albireo for calibration when it was dark

What I saw:


95 Herculis




I settled on those as my evening’s viewing, and recorded magnitudes/outlines over the course of the time. Except Mars, being on the other side of the sky. But as the seeing felt acceptable, I fancied a quick look. And yes, I could discern the polar caps, so it was worth it to swing by that way.

Here is what I salvaged from my short imaging stint:


Double trouble

All in all, a good session really.

Along comes a spider

Time outside: 22:30-00:00

Seeing: Not the best, but acceptable

Alignment: Castor/Pollux and Vega for calibration

Eldest male child was home, so I was showing him:

Jupiter (and one moon)


Then I tried to image M13, but with my camera, not my daughter’s, so all a bit grainy, but even so, getting slightly better at this:

Great globulars

One of the best

Best session yet!

Time outside: 22:00 – 23:30

Conditions – excellent

Yes, it was still light when I first got out, but Jupiter was still visible.

Once dark, and aligned properly (getting better at that, Castor/Pollux as they were bright, and Vega as my calibration star) I got motoring.

What awesomeness I saw this evening:

Jupiter and a lovely clustering of moons and fine banding. A quick image, if only to show the position of the moons. (Then I stopped even attempting imaging anything. As ever, it is on flickr)

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter and moons

Castor, yeah, my alignment star, but I love it

Albireo – colours were pronounced, vivid and top quality. My fave double, probably most peoples’. Tonight I saw it a fine orange/cool blue.

M13 – What can be said? That is one of the highlights. And in the closer eyepiece, filling it, certainly a top sight. At this point, I am away, loving every minute of it

Mars – it is there, and easily found, and rather ace. (You might have gathered I had an ace time tonight.)

Ring Nebula – crikey, visually? Hell yes. I could discern the halo, if nothing in the centre. But more wow. A delicate pale blue, a misty, smoky blue at that.

*AND* a shooting star, a good second, second-and-a-half of frail, just below Polaris, travelling towards the east.

That was enough, as I spent time on each of those, with a smile on my face. I didn’t get much imaging, I was too busy enjoying the grand spectacle. And those were grand spectacles indeed.

I showed Κασσάνδρα most of those, but she needs a bit more eyepiece practise to get the most of it. I even raised the height of the mount, and that eased my viewing pleasure as well.

I am going to start sketching next time, and ponder on imaging too. But, I have to work tomorrow (almost later today…) so I should stop now.


Summertime, and the viewing is…difficult

Time outside : 22:45 – 00:00

The seeing was not so good. At one point, Jupiter got lost in the murk, and overall it was a battle. Added to my usual suspects (Castor for alignment, Jupiter for wow) I got a bit of Mars, ish. I got a bit of Dubhe, though I really need to extend the tripod for that. Back, cricked.

And my alignment seemed to go out of whack very quickly, so I was left with cluster hunting by star hops and hope. But I did track down the Great Hercules Cluster (M13), though a thin smear of cloud didn’t help the bad atmospherics as it was. Takes up about an inch in the eyepiece, best with a bit of averted vision. No point in imaging it, not under those conditions.

Summer. Great for cluster lovers (like me), but damn, you have to stay up later, and it never really gets that dark. Ah well. But you can observe in shorts and teeshirt.

Just a quickie

It was supposed to be cloudy this evening, but at dusk it was rather clear, so I hoped against hope…and verily, at 21.45 it was still clear, if not altogether dark.

So I set up very quickly, got a spy at Jupiter, caressed the side of the moon, and then the clouds flew over, ruining my seeing. Ah well.I did get a very hurried and harried picture of the moon (full version):


Slapdash, not a picture, not a photograph

There was much hilarity as I tried to focus the camera on Jupiter, but it didn’t work (larger hilarity):


Jupiter, and four moons, honest

Even though the Jupiter picture is rubbish, I record it here anyhow. As not only is this an obsrving log, but a learning record, so I can (surely) see myself getting better at this caper.


Time outside: 21:45 – 22:45 (neighbour’s floodlight came on rather irritatingly, so I came in)

Alignment process: Planetary (Jupiter) to see how it went. It went fine.

Conditions: I was promised clear skies, and it was! Given it is the World Championship snooker, I was watching that, but Ronnie O’Sullivan finished a session early, so I got out before it was even really dark

What I observed:

Jupiter and three moons. Yes, I know, but all good.

The moon, and attempted photos. Medium sized below, full size(s) on my flickr stream. And a post about how that went later.

Castor, in the 12mm. Oh yes. My, yes. I love doubles.

95 Herculis, for a bit of colour in my doubles. And oh my yes (reprise).

Overall, way less faffing, much more observing, although cut a bit short. Speaking of short, it seems I stand outside gazing upwards in shorts, as that is what I change into when I get home from work, regardless of the season. So not only do the optics cool down, but so do I…

I’ll start recording magnitudes soon, now that I have found my feet again.

And, to end with, here is the moon, in my first steps to astrophotography. Camera connected directly to telescope, no guiding, no real setting up of shot, other than what I guessed in the kitchen. I used my daughter’s camera, as it has a ‘live view’ feature, whereas mine doesn’t.

Cresent moon

It looks so unreal in the lens