Saturday, July 14, 2012

More binocular viewing

After getting conflicting weather forecasts for the night I didn't anticipate the night sky to offer much.  Between rounds of the fight I was watching on TV, I decided to step out and take a peek.  Naturally it was dark, transparent, with only a few clouds to the North- east.  I went back in and watched the last round of the fight and then grabbed my binoculars, red flash light, a magnifying glass, and Pocket Sky Atlas. (I've found a magnifying glass easier to use to read star charts than constantly putting on and removing my bifocal glasses.)

Scorpius was beautiful in the southern sky.   After my eyes dark adapted ( takes ~ 15 minutes, but my vision is pretty good after 5 minutes) all but the tail star Eta was visible naked eye   M7 ( mag 3.3, 80') was a faint fuzzy patch naked eye and a nice glittering cluster in my binoculars with direct vision.  

M6, the butterfly cluster(mag. 4.2, ) was not visible naked eye, and hard to see in my binos direct.  In my peripheral vision I could detect M6 as a faint fuzzy patch.

Moving over to Sagittarius, M22 ( mag. 5.1, 38') stood out in my binos with averted vision, but was hard to see directly.    I moved up to M25 (mag. 4.6,   32') and found a relatively bright fuzzy area to the South-east of a small triangle of stars.  The brightest 2 stars in the triangle were away from the cluster.

Moving over toward M24 ( mag 4.6, 90'), the star cloud,  there was a rich field full of countless faint stars .  This is one of the nicer astronomical objects I've seen in binoculars.

The clouds rolled in and obscured pretty much everything and by 1220 the cloud cover was 90+% and showed no signs of blowing over any time soon.  Rather than needlessly risk Wesst Nile virus, I called it a night.  Perhaps I'll catch a clear night soon and shake the cobwebs off the scope.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Binocular viewing Scorpius

After the storms today, the skies finally cleared up a bit tonight.  It was too muddy and damp to setup the scope but I went out around 2330 with my binoculars and was treated to the best skies I've had in weeks.  Not great but decent.  The only problem was trying to hold the binoculars steady while being feasted upon by mosquitos.

Scorpius was in a pretty clear portion of the sky and I had a good time studying this area of the sky.   I couldn't quite make out M7 naked eye, but with my binoculars it was easily noted.  M6 is smaller and an order of magnitude dimer and was very difficult to make out.  I'm not sure if I saw it or if I just think I did because I knew where it was.  

Around midnight the moon rose over the house and washed out much of the sky so I gave up and came in.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Clouds, clouds, clouds

Tired of clouds! Between the clouds and bright moon all I could see @ 2315 was Vega, Arcturus, Spica, and Saturn. I haven't used my scope since the Venus transit. Hoping the weather clears soon, especially on a weekend night.