Today was a great day of astronomy for me. I started the day with my Coronado PST with some sun watching early this morning. As has been the case for the last while, the sun is a very dull place with no sunspots, however, there was a great solar flare on the edge of the sun's disk. After spending about a half an hour gazing at the sun in Hydrogen Alpha light, I put things away and waited for dark.
According to the weather reports, there will be several days of clear sky at night! As you all know, that has been very rare recently. I am sure someone must have gotten a new telescope as it is well known that the purchase of a new scope will cause weeks of cloudy skies. OK, fess up, who bought a new scope?
Well, tonight, I hauled out the LXD-750 mount for a night of stargazing in my backyard. Jackie Fulton came over to join me with her little 80 mm Nexstar scope. She even had a charged battery in her car to make sure she did not run out of juice. She was well-prepared for every eventuality... except, she forgot her telescope on the balcony in Hamilton.
Since she had let me use her scope in the past, I decided that fair was fair and I shared mine. Of course, I only had my 6 inch refractor for her to use, not her usual scope.
After a quick alignment, we started seeing objects in the cold clear skies. Mike Spicer's Skychart in the Event Horizon came in very handy to pick objects for our tour of the night sky. Very quickly we found M42, M45, M35, M37, M36, M31, M103, and M38.
I was especially impressed with the clear view of M42. The Trapezium was clear and the nebulosity was very evident in the views we got. I have left the mount set up for my observing sessions tomorrow night and I plan to do some imaging with both my ToCam Pro and my DSI. I might even try my hand at getting my autoguider to work so I can take some long exposures.
What a great night. I can't wait for tomorrow evening's session. I hope to get started early enough to get some good views of Uranus and Neptune.
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