January Observing Evening

What a super session last night!  Thanks to all who came along – a dozen or more? – and made it such fun.  In addition to the hard core regulars, there were a couple of new faces too, so I hope we lived up to your expectations.  It was bitterly cold, with a little moisture in the air that caught some glow from the town lights to the east early on, but a very rewarding couple of hours in the company of fellow enthusiasts.

We started with Venus and Mars, of course, managing fairly high magnifications (100x through my 115mm refractor, even more in David’s 200mm Schmidt Cassegrain)  to reveal the crescent phase of Venus and the open face of Mars.  Venus was so bright that it had to be viewed through a neutral density filter.

The Pleiades were very high in the sky, as were targets in Auriga.  The Andromeda galaxy got another look in, setting towards the west, with galaxies M81 and M82 in Ursa Major rising higher in the north east.  Later on, as the moisture dissipated and the air became more transparent, Orion was best placed for views of the wonderful Orion nebula M42.

Everyone had something to contribute, either by way of information and explanation, or by testing others with challenging and interesting questions about constellations and star identification.  Huge thanks go to David for bringing his Schmidt Cassegrain planet gobbler, and to Graham for his boundless enthusiasm and knowledge – and the craziest telescope!  These observing sessions are taking on a real character of their own.

See you all soon


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