Sunday, October 26, 2008

Quite early on, just as the sun was setting I noticed Venus shining back at me, so faint that when I got the Opticron out I had to take a long hard look to spot her again.

But what a view, the sky was still almost daylight yet I could make out the gibbous shape of one of only two planets between us and the sun.

Next I looked for Jupiter which again didn't let me down, some cloud belts could be seen but only one moon, will check later to see if that was by design or not.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Just managed to spend a half hour outside as the stars came out, Venus was to the SW and Jupiter following it higher in the sky.

I think I've just seen an Iridium flare, whilst looking up in the direction of Cynus I saw what looked like the ISS but it increased in brightness massively for a couple of seconds before disappearing. It wasn't a meteor (I think) because the colour was bright white.

Been up early for work a couple of mornings this week so got to see Orion and Sirius beaming away to my south.

Will hopefully get to go out again later.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just spent a helf hour or so outside on what is turning out to be a gloriously clear night.

First star to appear was (as usual) Vega high overhead, closely followed by Arcturus lower to the NW.

Jupiter is very bright to the south along the ecliptic, but currently obscured by my neighbours trees.

Cassiopea is overhead to the NE and a look through my monocular shows many background stars in this region of the sky and I can't wait to get the Skywatcher out with the low power EP to scan this part of the sky.

Quite a few satellites skimmed overhead just after sunset but the ISS is not on view for a couple of days yet.

Had hoped to get a view of M31 but failed miserably, must try later but my old favourite Albireo didn't disappoint.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

After a spell off work with a back problem I have during the last week had a few chances to sit outside in clear skies. I can't risk toting the Skywatcher out yet but have used the Spotting scope and Monocular to get some observing done.

A few sightings of the ISS show it to be very bright compared to previous sightings.

Albireo always delights me and at the moment Jupiter is an easy target to the South, the Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) have been doing their merry dance around the gas giant during the past week.

My very first serious observing was recording their progress over time when I was just 14 years old, 32 years on and I still get a thrill to see how much their positions change from night to night.

The global financial situation over recent weeks has culminated today with the UK Government announcing a bail out plan for the main UK banks and the world's central banks announcing a co-ordinated interest cut.

All quite gloomy so it has been a relief to revisit old friends like Jupiter which are still there from more innocent (for me) times!