Welcome to my astronomy blog. This is intended as a companion to my main astronomy website (http://www.fjastronomy.com) and will feature stuff that won't find its way onto that site as well as observing session accounts, sketches, travels and anything else related to deep sky astronomy. I currently use a 12" dob as my main scope but I will soon be getting an 18".
As the Moon is still very much in the way (2 days past full and 94% illuminated) I decided that, as I wanted to observe but couldn't be bothered to take the 12 inch out as the conditions weren't good, I'd have a little binocular session and knock some more objects off the AL Deep Sky Binocular list - assuming, of course, I could see this stuff in the light of a gibbous moon.
Very cold -4° Celsius
Waning gibbous Moon (94% illuminated)
Instrument: handheld 8x42 Leica binoculars with 7.4 degree field of view
Time: 2025 GMT to 2100 GMT
This short session began nicely with a lovely bright orange/yellow fireball which had a nice train, then split in two and vanished just north west of Auriga. Cool. Sadly no more followed it. As with all these things, this was very much a case of looking in the right place at the right time.
NGC 1981, open cluster in Orion. Large hazy patch just north of M42. Direct vision shows 12 stars, with 3 bright ones in a curved line, and with averted vision I can see all these plus a hazy backround which means unresolved stars or nebulosity.
Melotte 25, The Hyades in Taurus. Huge V shaped cluster which fits neatly into my binoculars' 7.4 degree field of view. Dominated by bright orange Aldebaran. I can count 60+ brighter stars, some a magnitude fainter than others and many more fainter stars within the V. All the stars, apart from Aldebaran, are bluish-white.
NGC 752, open cluster in Andromeda. Visible as big faint misty patch. The moon's interfereing with this one.
NGC 2169, open cluster in Orion. Surprisingly easy despite Moon. Small bright knot, with 4 stars seen with averted vision.
NGC 1662, open cluster in Orion. Large, faint, irregular patch. No stars seen with direct vision but with averted vision the cluster looks 'grainier'.
NGC 1582, open cluster in Perseus. Faint misty patch with a couple of stars resolved.
NGC 1342, open cluster in Perseus. Large irregular misty patch. No stars resolved.
Packed up at 2105 GMT as Moon was becoming a real nuisance. 2010's observing is now underway!