Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For the first time in ages I managed to make sure that I acclimatised my eyes properly, and on such a clear night it was well worth the effort.

I dragged out of the garage an obsolete reclining office chair and a footstool and leant back with my feet up for a good hour using the Mark I Eyeball aided occasionally by my Opticron Monocular.

Probably my most rewarding night's observing in a long time. Lyra and Cygnus were very clear and I could just make out the Milky Way running through that part of the sky, no mean feat where I live!

Looking through the monocular in these areas was breathtaking, countless numbers of stars!

I also had my eye on Cassiopiae and Perseus, the double cluster was a nice sight again.

For the first time I was able to spot the Andromeda galaxy with the naked eye!

Then, the Mrs turned on the bathroom light!

I was only today telling someone at work that you don't need to buy lots of kit to enjoy the night sky!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Clear skies tonight :o)

Due to my restricted viewing at my location I've decided that I need to concentrate my observing on getting to know my particular piece of the sky better. Number one on my list has to be Cassiopiae and the multitude of clusters etc around it.

Interestingly it's an immediately identifiable constellation, but, when viewed through an eyepiece of any magnification I can't make head nor tale of it, I must need to use a ultra low powered instrument methinks.

The Monocular has now been tripod mounted due to some eBay purchases of Manfrotto clamps. I got a great view of Brochis cluster (coat hanger) tonight with this low powered intrument. Also some nice sweeping views through Cygnus and Lyra.

Incidentally tonight was probably my first proper view of Lyra as a constellation, last autumn/winter it was lower in the sky and thus obscured by light pollution.

Anyway, whilst getting my eyes skyworthy I noticed what seemed to be the ISS cruising from North to South across my zenith. Yet 5 minutes later, I saw another candidate for the ISS cruising in the opposite direction! The second satellite must have gone behind some high cloud because it dimmed considerably before suddenly brightening again.

The highlight of tonight though....I watched a meteor pass overhead from NW to SE through Cygnus and it was a sight! There was a definite smoke trail and it brightened a few times although I saw no debris falling away. It seemed to last forever but probably only lasted 15 seconds or so.

Anyway, a good start to the new observing season for us lackies who can't be bothered to stay up all night through the summer.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Well, took a look outside at 22.30 BST and the sky was clear so I took the Meade out to take a look around only to see, more cloud :o(

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Well, nice clear night but not perfect seeing conditions...

Nice view of my favourite , Albireo.

Generally scanned the area around Cygnus with the Meade, lots of background stars in this area. If I lived in a dark sky area I'm sure this would be breathtaking to the naked eye. But for me, just tantalising glimpses of the Milky Way.

As I turned the scope around to the NE I saw a meteor flash by Cassiopeia, so I decided to look for some of the clusters to be found there.

Amazingly as I looked through the scope I saw a satellite moving quickly across the sky and decided to follow it through the scope. As I followed it I chanced upon the double cluster of NGC869 & 884.

I suppose my attraction to astronomy has always been a sense of a spooky feeling and the hairs on my neck moving when I realise just how far away things are, these clusters are 7,000 light years away. Of course that means that these stars might not actually exist now, because we are actually staring into the past. We see these stars as they looked 7,000 years ago, that's quite a long time in human history (if not most of it).

Anyway, not a bad night's viewing for my first of the "season".

Looks like a decent night for some observing at last. Just had the best view of the ISS so far, the track lasted for over 6 minutes and was very bright!

Will try to get out again soon with the scope to see what I can see.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Just got my first view of the ISS for quite some time, followed it though the BGA Monoscope no detail visible, but I was able to watch it until it was quite faint before finally disapearig into the Earth's shadow

Quite a short track this time, from the south west as predicted by Heavens Above and disappeared south of Cygnus.

Quite cloudy though with clear patches to the south, we have had our first rain in weeks over the last few days.

Getting back into this after a dry spell!
Well, it's been ages since I last had a view of the night sky. Sitting here now at 9.00pm and it's dark outside and just caught a glimpse of some stars.

Another few weeks and I'll be getting back into some star gazing I reckon.

More later