Oh what a night!

Mar 12

Written by:
3/12/2012 9:00 PM  RssIcon

Okay, so I'm not the most cold-weather tolerant person in the world, but I do live near Chicago IL, and we get some doozies when it comes to winter.  But this year has been an aberration; not much snow, and lately, not all that cold.  And this week, so far, it's been downright warm.  Not "early spring" warm; more like LATE spring warm.  Today was 70F!  

Well, it was also supposed to get cloudy.  But... it didn't.  So I brought a scope out, my 90mm f/10 refractor.  Looked at Jupiter while it was still light, and impressed my younger daughter that she could see the orange bands on the planet while it was not even dark.  I realized this was a real opportunity for me, so I decided to take out a larger scope.  Out came the 120mm f/9 refractor.  And a set of 10x50 binocs for the larger targets.  Woo-hoo!  Now we're talking some better views....

Jupiter and Venus in the evening sky 

You know, one thing about star-hopping - it really helps on nights like this.  You don't want to go digging through star charts, you just want to visit with your old friends.  So given the patch of sky I can see from my front yard, I set about visiting them:

  • M41
  • Mars and M65 (I think?) in Leo; later Gamma Leonis
  • M34, The Double Cluster and the Alpha Persei Cluster in Perseus
  • M36, M37 and M38 in Auriga
  • Collinder 69 in Orion (the rest of the constellation was behind a tree)
  • The Hyades, Pleiades and M1 in Taurus
  • M35 in Gemini
  • M44 / Beehive / Praesepe in Cancer (I was able to spot this naked eye with averted vision!) in binoculars

I did search for a few other things, with less success than I'd hoped, but again - no star charts, just me and the scope and the binoculars.  And when the temperatures provide that kind of completely relaxing experience without having to shiver or worry about the cold (it was still 55F when I came inside), it's an opportunity you just don't pass up.  Glad I did it; now I'll have to get back to work on things. 

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.