Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let it snow....

So .... managed to get outside for the first "proper" stargaze this year! The recent snowfall gave the evening an almost Christmasy feel to the air - very crisp, dark and clear. My window of opportunity only lasted about 2 hours, but even so I managed to see some great stuff.
A while ago I viewed (through the binoculars) a row of three clusters in Auriga which was in the west at the time and I wanted to re-visit these when I could. These were my targets for last night.
I found them with not much trouble with the help of Sky At Nights Star Chart (great magazine by the way!).
From Capella in Auriga, move South to Kids (this forms part of a small triangle) then slowly go West. You come across 3 clusters almost in a line of varying magnitudes. These are (in order) M38, M36 and M37.
What a site these were in the binoculars as well as the telescope. Very rich star fields indeed.
I also spotted a naked eye cluster in the West - M44 - this is a great site in binos but a wide-field scope at low power really shows the brightness of these stars.

On my next outing my target is the Leo Triplet.

Happy viewing.
MJ.