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  1. This winter, there had been many nights when I wanted to step outside and be immersed by the wonders of the night sky but obstacles had been in my way, the greatest being the cold. You can imagine my delight yesterday when the mercury finally showed more favourable temperatures. Anything warmer than -30's and 40's is fine by me. I had a triple take when I saw our digital thermometer declare that we were finally in the single digits! -8! I couldn't believe it but out I went! The air was crisp with a hint of humidity but the skies were perfect for viewing. I started with a romp around the area where Jupiter shone brightly and ended up looking at something my Stellarium identified as the "Satellite Cluster" or NGC 2245 in the constellation Monoceros. Upon researching further on the Internet, I discovered little about this cluster which I found particularly fascinating. I tried once again to find the Cone Nebula which many have stated was quite a sight but came out empty handed. It was an especially dark night and was really hoping I would detect it before summer hit my latitude and inky black nights become rare. I decided to go back to my original destination which was Jupiter which was extremely sharp (always good to opt for an easy target when another proved in being elusive), as was the Orion Nebula. I couldn't remember the last time I had such a rewarding night as this one. To top it all off, my next door neighbour's porch light had miraculously been turned off! Since he leaves it on all the time (24/7), I can only hope that it has finally burned out. Knowing his work habits, in this case his LACK of work ethics, I can rest easy that it won't be replaced for months! Good nights lie ahead! Isabelle
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