Thursday, 7 February 2008

Observing, 6th February 2008

Conditions: Cold, misty, sky a bit hazy. No wind
Instruments: 4-inch refractor and 8×42 binoculars
Place: Near Sandown, Isle of Wight, England

A much interrupted observing session (the England football team were in action against Switzerland and it was on BBC1). Sketched the highly unimpressive Collinder 69 in Orion - this thing consists of three stars in a triangle and that’s it, unless the fainter ones in the middle are related and even then it struggles to be anything other than boring. It’s big though and very obvious to the unaided eye. Collinder 69 represents the weapon that Orion the hunter is in the act of bringing down on some unfortunate prey.
The conditions weren’t great and I swapped the scope for the 8×42 binoculars and knocked off a few more Messiers for the binocular project to see all these objects, bringing the total to 61 - M40, M48, M95, M96, M105. What was the deal with M40? It’s two stars - how on earth did Messier think these might possibly be confused with a comet?