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Special K

05/10/2013: What did you see? Post your obs here!

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OK, it's just going dark here in the UK at 7 pm and it looks like it might be clear for many of us (don't blame me if its not!). I'm a gambling man and got a feeling this could be a good night, ha ha! Please share your highlights from tonight here if the mood grabs you. Gotta go put the scope out on the deck to cool.........I love October Skies!

Good luck everyone and if you do get out, Clear Skies to all.

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The OTA is dewed out! Tonight didn't disappoint and have only just been chased in by the cold. The seeing here was decent but a star test showed a fair amount of speckling. Not surprising as Arcturus was winking furiously high above the horizon. First up was M45 which was a glittering prize! Nice was to start the tour with something clear and bright. This is my first sustained look this autumn and its good to be back! The atmosphere seemed a bit 'watery' which gave the cluster a kind of nebulous effect. Next off was Betelgeuse, a beautiful burning Red, and a lovely contrast to the blue diamonds of M45.

Orion was out of view so it was on to Gemini and M35, which was a lovely image best seen with the 12mm. This was a real highlight and worth some extra time to take it all in. I didn't manage to find the smaller companion clusters this time. Avoiding the temptation to go straight to Jupiter, it was M1 next. In the past I had such a hard time finding this but is much easier now. The UHC didnt tease out any more detail and this is one left for a truly dark site.

Noticing the Square of Pegasus, it reminded me of Uranus' position in relation and worth another look. Definitely been some progression against the background stars since I had a look two weeks ago, and sure is nice to be able to find it now without too much effort. From there it was time for Jupiter and alas the dew was creeping in to the secondary. Really need to get a dew shield sorted out for this winter. The primary is absolutely fine but secondary is very prone to fogging up after 2 hours out. There were some moments of grand clarity despite a little dew and is always a rewarding experience. However on a moonless night, its good to hit the faint guys out there. And who better to check out than M81 & M82. Great to see these in the EP again! From here it was relegation to the bins and Perseus was in fine form.

2 planets, two galaxies, two clusters, the Crab, and a few other treats along the way. Happy Skies!

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