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27th of Dec, 2012 - Old Acquaintances


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After almost 3 weeks without an opportunity I was thrilled to see a potential gap in the clouds in the forecast. I kept looking out my window but the clouds reigned. I could see Orion rising and the Moon and Jupiter was visible through some small gaps. However an hour later basicly all clouds were gone. I put my 10x50 in my pocket and went for my local semi-dark spot.

First of all, the moon almost made the whole sky glow with a blue-greyish tint. I could barely make out any stars except the brightest ones. I quickly scanned Jupiter but couldn't really detect any clear moons, and I decided I didn't want to stick around. M45 The Pleiades was nice but very soft. I did catch a glimpse of C14 the Double Cluster, but it might have been my imagination.

After just picking up some hints of nebulosity in M42 Orion Nebula, I looked quickly at Sirius. And boy was it shining bright. It was very twinkly however. I tried comparing the tint but it was no where near Betelgeuse in color.

Just for the heck of it, I tried to catch M31 Andromeda, and was surprised it only took me seconds to home in on it,even though I could barely make out the Pegasus square. It was extremely faint, and I can see why people miss it at first. Practice makes perfect, however.

After spending a little while searching between the horizon and Castor & Pollux I finally found M44 Beehive Cluster again, wich was nice, its my newest Messier, and I try to revisit my old ones to practice finding them. Messier 67, that is a few magnitudes fainter, was nowhere to be seen, not to much surprise since I had a struggle with M44.

After having fought so long with trying to see something in the glow of the moon, I decided to look at the moon instead...

Best descision of the evening.

WOW.

It was really stunning, being basicly full (99%). I spent a few moments trying take in details. Tycho Crater and Mare Crisium really spoke to me for some reason. This might have been one of my greatest moments with the moon. Clearly need to go there with my scope when the weather report is more promising.

So after having a few weeks of just clouds, I feel refreshed and in high spirits after having had a dose of starlight. Seeing was bad, but I feel I made the most of it, and while the moon can drown out everything else, we shouldn't forget her beauty.

Edited by VigdisVZ
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Carl,

Nice report and glad to hear that someone somewhere is getting a few gaps in the weather and managing to keep their spirits up. Over this side of the north sea its been pretty dire for the last couple of weeks, though I managed a short while unaided on Christmas eve, but had to give up and wrap the kids presents later on. By the time I looked out again the sky had clouded over totally.

On the plus side there's still plenty to do in doors and have brought a Modern Astronomy Planetary Imager (which is basically a pre-modded SPC900NC, a copy of Making Every Photon Count and perhaps a Baader Hyperion Zoom and Barlow combination (when FLO come back in the New Year). Other than than I've got to strip and flock the SW200P this weekend. The met office is predicting some clear sky for the 1st Jan - so hope to be trying my hand at some lunar and jupiter images to test things out.

Hopefully 2014 will bring us all some good clear nights and the oppurtunity to get the kit out and setup properly.

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Hope we don't have to wait that long :p

Whoops some typo/mistake - now guess who the fall guy will be if 2013 proves as wet and cloudy as 2012!

I'll go home immediately and sacrifice a bottle of good red wine to the gods as pennance....

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Good to hear you got out, must grab every opportunity when the weather has been this poor for so long. Would love to see the beehive through bins and do it some justice (must fork out for a pair at some point!). Nicely done, really enjoyed reading about it.

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Well done on getting out (he says a little jealously - didn't bring my scope away to family for Christmas and haven't had cause to regret it...). I'm looking forward to a decent look at M44 in the scope once it pops up early enough :)

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