About a dozen EAS enthusiasts turned out on Thursday for what will probably be the last observing evening of this season. A little haze high in the sky meant that there was a slight background wash making faint objects more challenging, but we still bagged a good set of observations.
Orion offered final views of M42 (The Orion Nebula) nebula setting in the west, and we also took a long look at Betelgeuse (Alpha Orinonis) while observing individual stars including Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris), Castor (Alpha Geminorum) – a double separated by 90 light years or 5 arcsec viewed from Earth – and Pollox (Beta Geminorum).
Open clusters were a feature of the evening, M35 in Gemini, M36 (“The Pinwheel”), M37 and M38 (“The Starfish”) in Auriga and M44 (“The Beehive”) in Cancer.
Galaxies M65 and M66, two of the “Leo Triplet”, were just visible in Leo, as were M81 and M82 in Ursa Major.
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák was seen as a very challenging fuzzy spot in my 115mm refractor, as was nearby M97 (The Owl Nebula) used for comparison.
We finished with pretty good views of Jupiter and the four Gallilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
My sincere thanks go to all members who come and make these sessions a success. There is still room for improvement and I look forward to canvassing members’ views over the next few EAS meetings to see how we can make then even better.
Apologies to last night’s observers for predicting the two iridium satellites that failed to appear. Still not sure why but most probably the low angle, 16°. I ‘mistook’ on the direction – it was NE not NNE but you would have thought that was near enough for a -2.8 mag.
For those who weren’t at the March meeting – or who were but would like a reminder of the details – here’s some information about our Trip being planned for the evening of April 24th. Many thanks to Richard Rae for organising this. If you’re interested in going, please pass that interest on at the April meeting.
Thanks to Liz, Stella and Moira for coming along anyway! 🙂
Cross your fingers for clear skies this coming Friday night (March 3rd) because we are having another of our hugely popular “Moon Watch” nights at the Brewery Arts Centre!
As I write this the weather forecast isn’t very good, but as we all know they can change overnight, or just be plain wrong, so let’s just wait and see what happens. If you can see the Moon at or after 6.30pm on Friday night come down to the Brewery, where we’ll have our telescopes set out in the garden.
And what will you see? Well, the Moon will be just short of First Quarter, which is the very best time to look at it through a telescope (not Full Moon, as everyone seems to think) because that’s when the Moon’s jagged mountains and deep craters stand out from the surface most clearly.
On Friday night we’ll have a spectacular view of some of the Moon’s most famous features – weather permitting!
If you come good and early, before Venus drops behind the trees, we should also be able to show you the “Evening Star” through our telescopes – which is now looking like a beautiful thin crescent through telescopes – and the planets Mars and Uranus too, although they’ll just look like tiny stars.
Unfortunately the Space Station won’t be putting in an appearance during our MoonWatch, it’s not an evening object at the moment, but we should see a few other satellites drifting across the sky while we’re Moon-gazing.
The event is free, begins at 6.30pm, and will end around 9pm.
Many thanks to all the EAS members who came along to Kendal Museum last night for our February meeting, especially the members who stepped up at short notice and gave short presentations. After our Secretary’s monthly News Round Up, and Simon’s report on last month’s observing night and his plans/hopes for this month’s. Richard Rae gave a fascinating talk on our nearest star, The Sun…
After Richard’s talk, our Treasurer, Liz Hodgson gave a very entertaining talk on the posters NASA designs for missions to the International Space Station. Then, to close the meeting, Moira Greenhalgh gave a short but very educational talk about the constellation Pisces – the first of her “Constellation Of The Month” presentations, which we will all enjoy very much in the months ahead, I’m sure!
Many thanks also to Ian Bradley who shared his most recent stunning astrophotos with us.
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
Quick reminder that it is our first meeting of 2017 this coming Monday night.
After my usual “News Round Up” bit at the beginning, I’d like members to step up and show any images they’ve been taking recently. You can either bring them along on a USB stick on the night, or email them to me in advance so I can put them in a Powerpoint. Don’t be shy, I’ve heard those cameras clicking…!
After the break I’m sure Simon will be telling us all about plans for upcoming Observing Evenings, after which I’ll be giving a VERY detailed breakdown of the year ahead, looking at the 2017 EAS Programme, events happening in the sky, space missions coming up, and looking forward to some things we can all cross our fingers and hope to happen this year…
So, hope to see lots of you there!
If you’re a user of Twitter you’ll be interested to hear we have a new, active Twitter account for 2017…
This blog is, of course, the main place for members and visitors to go for all the detailed information about our events and activities. The Twitter account will be used for very quick updates and to “spread the word” about what we’re doing.