Home Forums RAC Main Forum General Discussion Observing tonight? Re: Observing tonight?

Jeff Newland

    I got out there early enough to catch the first ISS showing, but then…  I was looking at the clouds, no Venus in sight, it was behind the clouds.  There was a nice pretty sunset with the clouds and had me worried.  Listening to the birds.  Looking around some for any other stars.  I happened to see Sirius, and looked at my watch and saw it was 7:40 and ahhh, too late for the ISS.  I just wasn't looking at the right spot when it came out as I should have been able to see it.  There was a thin film of clouds, so things were not popping out.  I was looking around with the binocs.  As it darkened, you could see there were clouds reflecting the light in Byron and Rochester.  Venus did make an appearance between the clouds and took a look at that and Saturn thru the trees.  Venus still a nice thin crescent, very pretty.  Saturn was still too low, saw one moon, but didn't take too much of a look.  I had thought of going for M76, but with the clouds, didn't think that would show up.  Started looking for Messier open clusters over by Sirius, but not having much luck.  Looking at Orion Nebula and did not really see it with the clouds.  Trapezium stood out quite clearly, even in my wide angle.
    Luka showed up before 9, not quite sure when, 8:30ish?  Still some clouds, Luka was looking for M76 and even with the clouds, he did pick it up.  I took a look and sure looked like what I thought M76 should look like.  Around that time, I happened to glance at my watch and noticed 9:06, ISS coming at 9:08.  Started to watch for that and it popped out in the WNW, maybe WWNW.  We both followed that in our scopes for awhile.  Not picking up much of any detail.  It disappeared under the Little Dipper. 
    And as if by magic,  😮  or maybe the ISS pulled the clouds with it,  ;D  all of a sudden, things were really starting to pop out.  It cleared up quite a bit.  We both took some more looks at M76 and verified that is what we were seeing.  Looking at it in various eyepieces to compare things.  Luka was looking at many different Messiers and I'm sure he will probably say something later.  The open clusters in Auriga (M36, 37, 38) were now popping out in my binoculars.  I started looking for the ones I had tried earlier and I was finding them in the binocs and the finder now.  Found M46, M47, M48, M50, M93, M41, M67.  Went to Leo and did M65 and M66.  There was talk on one of the other nights about M3, so took a look at that.  Went to 150X on that and did start to see some grains in there, not quite starriness. 
    Saturn was now much higher and I was able to see banding, I think I was seeing about 4 moons, perhaps 5 if that one way to the left in the eyepiece was one.  Thought there were like 3 on the right side close to the rings.  That is the best I have seen Saturn.  My scope will be coming up on 1 year old here shortly.  I'll have to bake it a cake to celebrate.  🙂
    I was thinking of packing up and Luka asked if that star over there was Spica.  Looking around, yep, it is.  And then that over there must be Corvus then?  You bet, yes it is.  Ah, I know where you're going, you're going to look for the Sombrero.  Yes indeed, that is where Luka was going.  Corvus wasn't too far above the trees.  We both took a look.  I searched my memory and there it was, the path to M104 (Sombrero Galaxy).  Just like riding a bike.  🙂
    Finished off with M104 and we both packed up.  It was about 11:00.  For me, time for bed.  Luka had to head home as he had a brother coming in from Cinci(?).  If not for that, I think he would have stayed out for another hour or two as things were looking good.  One last observation, at the end, the 'V' of the Hyades was really showing up naked eye, more than other times I have looked at it.  Yes, you guess it, AGNFA!