Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And again ....

Well, out again last night with just a quick update of the previous post.
I have said this before, but I am seeing things lately that I have never seen before, either naked-eye or optical.
Another one is M44 - Praesepe at mag 3.10 in Cancer. This is left of Orion and is a naked-eye open cluster. A real delight in the binos as well. Then if you simply move to the 7 o'clock you come across M67 - another open cluster at mag 6.9. This is easily visible in the binos.

So it suddenly dawned on me that with this evening and the last I can easily get to mag 7 in the binos. and probably further given a moon less night.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An outstanding evening

So last night I decided to use the binoculars (12x50) and take a few shots with the camera. This has to be one of the best sessions i've had and really shows the need for a good pair of binos for that "quick-look" session or even the all-nighter!
I was so impressed by the rich wide-field views I got I may even invest in a larger pair soon. I got to see nebula and star clusters that I have never seen - although my naked eye observing has improved the more I go outside and learn the night sky as well.
Worthy objects are:
The open clusters M37 (Mag 5.6), M36 (Mag 6.0) and M38 (Mag 6.4) - these "jumped-out" in the binos
Orion Nebula M42
Pleiades M45 - a really good sight above the crescent moon and Venus
The double-double of Alcor and Mizar in the Great Bear.
Of course the planet favourites as well - Venus, Jupiter (now setting late evening), Saturn (now rising late evening) and Mars.

This night more than most has really re-invigorated my interest in Astronomy (not that it needed it), but really highlights that fact that you really do not need more than a pair of £20 binoculars to really enjoy the sky. I think I might have mentioned that before?! ;)



What an Alignment 31/2

Not one to miss out on the act, but without a DSLR to capture the full majesty of the evening sky, I fired off this shot, taken at about 8.30 on 26th March. Venus glaring just above and right of the moon and Jupiter below.

The real view looked better but my camera picked up too much brightness from the moon. Hey, I did use a tripod!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

What an alignment! (3)

Well kind of. Trying out my new Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens I was lucky to have very early clear skies and was able to take this hand-held camera view! I am also blessed with one of the darkest skies I have come across as I live in the sticks, although this was taken at dusk.
So we have (left to right) - Venus (top), Jupiter and the crescent Moon.
The image does not really do the naked eye view justice, even my 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter were in awe of what they could see.


Monday, March 12, 2012

What an alignment! (2)

Well, no picture this time - sorry, but a good deal of information!
So, viewed Venus last night - it was like a half moon in miniature -a great sight and then Jupiter to it's left with 3 moons visible.
Orion was of course splendid in the West and to the South-East Mars is a really good sight - really stands out as being "red".
I also like to just stand and stare (hoping to catch a shooting star or two) to take in the whole sky. It really is an awe inspiring sight - I could spend hours just looking up .... which has just sparked a memory of being about 12 and at my parents house with camp bed and binoculars - just looking up. Very good memories.