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

Dean Johnson

    Hello astronomy fans. I got out last night for two and a half hours. It was nice at first, but then the winds really started raising problems.

    I started out with Polaris for polar alignment, then Sirius for a collimation check and to see if I could spot Sirius B. (No luck. Has any RAC member ever spotted it?) Then M41 that lovely open cluster below Sirius, then the Orion Nebula to just celebrate having my scope out again.

    Then I got down to more serious stuff. I checked out R Leporis, a variable star below Rigel near 31 Leporis. This is also known as "Hind's Crimson Star". It is now near maximum brightness and it has a very nice red color. It reminded me of a tiny Mars.

    Then on to Mars for naked eye, binocular and telescopic observations. Right now Mars is moving away from the Sickle of Leo and is not quite halfway back to M44 in Cancer.
    It is especially interesting to see it change position in binoculars because of its movement from night to night against the faint background stars. Telescopically, I could clearly see the North Polar Ice Cap, but by then it was so windy, I could not make out any definate surface features.

    My final observation was of VY Canis Majoris that Dr. Roberta Humphreys gave a talk about in October. It is also a red variable star, not as bright as R Leporis, that took some careful star hopping to get to. I could see no nebula. I think that will take a bigger scope to see than my little 8 inch.