Take your chances when you can

This year hasn’t really been anything other than cloudy. Bit of a pain for visual astronomers, all told. I should probably finish my radio telescope, shouldn’t I? And my meteor detector. And and and…yeah, so many projects, so little time. Still waiting for the truckload of cash to come through my front window. Imagine the fun I could have then…

BUT, we’ve had two clear nights. In a row. Over a Bank Holiday, so no need to get up for school the next day. What are the chances of that happening in this country? Well, one, it would seem, as it has happened. And boy, did I take advantage of it, and boy, wasn’t it just fantastic.

The first night, not quite as great, as the moon drowned out a lot of the sky with her extra brightness. On the other hand, she didn’t cast her light on me until she rose over the rooftops, which was going on midnight. I decided to do some imaging, M53 was my target for some reason. Not that I need a reason, a fine target that is.



An honourable mention must go to the Cat’s Eye Nebula, a glorious blue blob, in fact I can convince myself I saw it as a double blob, but not any central region with any distinction.

The second night, for some reason I thought I’d start with M37. No idea why, it wasn’t on my planned list, I guess between looking at the list and getting to the eyepiece something happened. I transposed a six for a three. But happy chance! How absolutely deep was M37? I got lost counting. Various powers and magnifications, it was probably the best I’ve seen it ever. More and more and more stars springing into view, a really brilliant cluster, I loved every minute of it.

I could wax lyrical about the others I looked at, but I’ll just give a namecheck to them: M3, 36, 38 and 67.

But of course, I love my doubles and triples, we all know that. I decided I’d look through Burnham again, and dropped him open at Boötes (and Cancer). So I leisurely strolled through a few of them. Again, just to list:

Boötis ε/ζ/κ/μ/ξ/π
Cancri ι/θ2

Oh boy. μ Boötis. A triple of excellence. Before I focussed properly, it looked like a Triforce symbol! Colour contrasts, sparkling jewels, a long time spent on each set. Not quite sure what would be my ultra-standout, hard to say, but glad I swept around.

Given the time of year, Jupiter was also observed. How could you not? Never, ever anything less than an inspiring sight. Watching the progress of the moons, both in wide-field and tight in. Clouds bands prominent, majestic. Venus is also up there, and I was showing her phases to the females of the house, being about 3/4 at time of viewing I think. Very bright, and up for a long time before setting.

(One downside was I seem to have run the thread on one of the screws that holds the eyepiece in, must have a look at that in the daytime. Dropping the screw, and having to use my phone torch to find it, kind-of ruined my dark adaption.)

You see, it doesn’t matter how many time I look at the same objects, be it a Messier, multiple-system or a solar system body, I…drink them in, it always, and will always, make me happy. More than that. So much more than that. My truth is out there, somewhere.

And I am always happy to share this, with anyone, everyone. Do come spend the evening with me! The rule of thumb is I stop when I can no longer feel my knees/fingers. Wrap up well. Bring your best eyes.