I checked the Clear Sky clock around mid day and it was indicating potentially fair conditions for the evening. So I decided to load up the car with my astronomy gear before heading off for various day activities with the hope of heading up to Binbrook upon my return to town. While I was out of town, I tried to check my email to see if there was going to be any observing, but I couldn't get in, however the CSC was indicating that conditions were improving.
I decided to head up to Binbrook around 10pm in the hopes of running into other observers. After checking the main gate and the various alternate locations, I set up at our Tyneside alt location. The air was still and you could feel some dampness trying to make its presense. It meant the mosquitos were likely going to be a nuisance - I was prepared for them.
By 10:30, I was set up with the 6" reflector, the binos, chair and table prepared for several hours of observing. Fortunately the sky was cooperating and the earlier clouds had finally vanished. To the north was the glow of Hamilton, but it was further ruined by an additional glow from a ball field in Binbrook. To the south however, was clear skies and a good view of Sagittarius and Scorpius. I decided to focus on all the Messier object around the teapot.
I started off with the easy and bright globular cluster M22 which I had seen before. Then scanned along the bottom of the teapot and picked up M69, M54 and with a little difficulty, M70. In my binos I could see the fuzz of M7 and M6 so I trained the scope on them to reveal 2 nice clusters twinkling away. Unfortunately the Jewel box was obstructed by trees nearby so I moved higher above the horizon to look at clusters M28, M25, M18, M24 and M9. I also enjoyed the paired cluster/nebula M21 & M20 (at least in the wide field of my scope). And of course the nebulas M8, M16 and M17.
Unfortunately by 12:30, the dew was getting bad, affecting my view finder, binos and even my reading glasses. Hercules was emerging from the Hamilton/Binbrook glow (they still hadn't turned off the lights at the ball field), and I could visually make out the smudge of M31. I swung the scope around to take a look, but by then even the eyepieces were dewing up and all I saw was a brighter smudge. If I needed any encouragement to pack up, that was it. While it was a quiet night without any fellow observers, it had been rewarding in it's own right - the most Messiers bagged in a single evening so far.
By 12:45 I was ready to leave, however I noticed that the car's engine light was on which gave me a bit of a scare whether I was going to be stranded for the night. Fortunately all the fluid levels were fine, so I chanced the trip home. I'm sure the trip to the garage is going to put enough of a dent in the pocket book to delay some astronomy purchases. But that will be a story for a different blog.
No Comments for this post yet...
Comments are not allowed from anonymous visitors.
This page is the summary of all blogs in order of most recently entered.To post, send an account request to: