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!