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.

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