A place in the sky


The sun is shining.  It was 28 degrees yesterday instead of 14 degrees last week.  The washing is drying.  And the stars came out.

Tuesday night I faffed about collimating the 5″ (a lost cause as the focuser draw tube is so rickety now) and then had an hour to wander.  You couldn’t call it an observation; more a case of calibrating naked eye/binocular/telescope views again, and getting a few basic star hops from A to B re-established.

I re-acquainted myself with the constellations, hurrying because darkness falls so late and I had to get up in the morning. Then I hunted up a few Messiers to get my eye in.  It was comforting to see the usual suspects again – M57 (Ring nebula), M11 (Wild Duck cluster), M27 (the Dumbbell), M31 (Andromeda galaxy), M13 (the glob in Hercules).  And I finally had something to write in the observing log.

Last night there were more stars.  In the brief observing session I inched down through Scutum looking for Messiers.  M26 was a small, faint object with a 25mm eyepiece, but is arranged in such a distinctive pattern with Epsilon and Delta Sct that there can be no mistake.

I got a bit lost then and can’t decide if a starry clump was M18 or M24, as I haven’t consciously seen either of them before.  After some randomness looking for M17 I saw something nebulous, and this time had the wit to sketch it.  Again, a distinctive pattern of stars confirmed that this was the Swan/Omega.  Another first. And the navigation is coming back to me.

It was a night to stay out until 4 but I couldn’t let myself do so.  Oh for a clear weekend and the 10″ scope!


6 responses »

    • Too much light pollution and too demanding a schedule? I can imagine the deprivation. I’ve only been stargazing seriously for a few years, and now when the weather prevents for more than a week or two I actually feel – well, slightly claustrophobic would be the nearest, or maybe even, strangely enough, homesick.

  1. What a beautifully lyrical account laced with erudition. My star-gazing is limited to nights out in the hammock, reminding myself of the simpler constellations, stars and planets, plus occasional sessions using my birding ‘scope.

    • Star-gazing from a hammock sounds great to me! – and perfect for the Perseids, if only the weather would be kind.
      I’m a little disconcerted that the words ‘erudite’ and ‘lyrical’ could be remotely connected with my ramblings, but thank you for the kind thought. 🙂

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