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


Double trouble

Time outside: 21:45 – 23:10

Alignment process: 2-star (and seemingly successful, post about alignment woes still in the pipeline)

Conditions: After cloudy all day, even up to 21:00, I wasn’t anticipating any observing. But while in the kitchen making…well, I forgot about making the coffee as I looked outside, and it was clear. Quick! To the astroshed! Get those optics outside and start cooling down!

What I observed:

1. Jupiter. Have to, really. My sketch (yes, really) shows two easily visible bands, and four moons, two either side

2. 38-Geminorum – twins in the Twins. A fine pairing, even if just to test the resolving power of the telescope.

3. zeta Geminorum – not really straying too far around the sky here, but this is a Cepheid, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

4. Castor/Pollox, just as they were close


I also tried my old camera for some pictures, but as it doesn’t have a ‘live view’, too ancient for that, nothing focused. So rather than steal my daughter’s camera, I decided I’d stick with visual observing and not waste any more time faffing. Speaking of daughter, she was out for a bit too, ooh-ing over Jupiter, and being impressed with doubles.


All in all, not a bad time. I have no great desire to go swinging from one side of the sky to the other, I am happy to hunt around in the same area, getting to know the inhabitants.