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10/15/20 Scan of the southern skies from western Japan. Did some viewing from my semi-suburban balcony in southern Osaka Prefecture around 7:00pm local time with fairly clear skies. Most notable, of course, was the Jupiter / Saturn pair, now curving down to the southwest slightly earlier with each passing night. The difference between my Vixen Ascot 10x50s and the Celestron 15x70’s was noticeable on Jupiter where the larger bins brought it all 4 moons, Europa to the lower right and Io, Ganymede and Callisto forming a diagonal from close in to the upper left. The 10x50’s couldn’t resolve Io in the glare of Jupiter. Just off to the right of Jupiter was magnitude 5.58 HR 7327 and with averted vision, I do believe I was getting a feint glimpse of HD181033 in Sagittarius, listed at magnitude 8.28. Above Saturn, slightly left (eastward) was the Capricorn constellation with Alpha-2 Capricorni and Algedi clearly separated. As a relative novice I wasn’t aware that Dabih (Beta Capricorni) had a companion, Beta-2 Capricorni at just above magnitude 6. Whereas the former appears as a crisp orange, the latter is a fuzzier white. I had one of those, “you learn something new everyday” moment. Further down towards the horizon, I was happily surprised to find, “The Persian” (Alpha Indi in the Indus constellation). I thought it had been lost to a large house that was built across the way about a year and a half ago. I wasn’t able to find any other members of that particular constellation but bright, twinkling Al Nair in Grus was almost in a line to the east of The Persian. Finally, high up in the east, currently impressive orange Mars and a bit lower in the sky, Cetus’s Deneb Kaitos were both incrementally heading in my direction. As Autumn is an excellent time for sky-gazing, I encourage everyone to take a peek, even if you only have a few minutes to do so.
Have only been in the hobby for about 3 years off and on, so this was somewhat satisfying: 11/29/18 8 pm JST (Japan Standard Time) Confirmed sighting of Neptune for first time. Did it by star-hopping from Mars to Lambda Aquarii then west over to h Aquarii which had star HD 218081 adjacent to it in an 8 o’clock position. Back to the right (east) to 81 Aquarii, a little above Neptune and then patiently waiting for my eyes to adjust to the only average seeing conditions. Finally, little blueish speck below 81 Aquarii appeared off and on, improved with averted vision. Did the above routine 3 times with same result. Maybe not the biggest astronomical news but a small, personal triumph in seeing the most distant planet in our neighborhood.