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Special K

Midwinter Morning shine

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Having missed an idyllic morning last week, I spotted a gap in the forecast which looked like a clear morning sky coming.  Not disappointed!  I love a waning moon and arrived on site with the grab and go outfit at 3:30 to see the crescent just about 10 degrees above the eastern horizon.  This got the first observation as it was bathed in amber hues from our air which give it a rich warmth.  Aside from a few wisps and thin films, it was clear and cold.  Seeing was good enough to push the mag up high.

Jupiter was a beautiful marble at 85x.  Two dark barges were very distinct.  You know the seeing is not bad when the biggest obstacle becomes your floaters!

Mars is looking fabulous though perhaps too low to yield details yet.  This May should be good as we near opposition with Mars and Saturn and for us will be very close in the sky.

I spent a lot of time just admiring the sky, though other diversions were well worth it:

M13 is stunning!  I have to shroud my face with my hands to block out any stray light to get best effect.  And then those faint little needles of light start to identify themselves briefly.  Funny how it comes and goes so must be atmosphere and optics at play.  I still cannot get over how huge this thing is.   Massive view at 85x and could have piled on more power.

On to the Double Double which really needed the barlow at 170x to do the trick.  Diffraction rings were not obvious which made me conclude the seeing wasn't as good as I had thought.  Down to Steph 1 loose cluster and a quick look around the busy environs of the Ring Nebula.   From here it's an easy jaunt down to Albireo with a spectacular show of contrasting amber primary to blue/green companion, which really came out at 85x.

Then back to the moon which had risen along with Scorpio.  I'm looking at my atlas now and just cannot figure out the huge crater near the middle that seems so prominent in this quarter.  Must be the way the light is glancing across the terminator which makes it so much more prominent than the atlas indicates.  Theophilus maybe.  It has a peak in the middle of the crater.

The Finale was Saturn by mistake.  Thought this was going to be Antares so gave me a surprise at the EP!  A lovely surprise and look forward to May when this is going to be much higher in the sky for observation.  The real Antares was actually the last view in the scope before packing up and this is an unbeatable M class.

 

Clear skies

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Lovely report ! It's well worth getting up early for the planets and that lovely still air.

I use the app "Moon globe", it has the daily view and the option of mirror of inverted view. Gassendi has peaks and is around the mid bit. Try M3 at high magnification, the sparkling field stars will knock you out !

clear skies !

Nick.

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Another lovely report Kevin! :)

I don't have a problem to stay up all night, but waking up to go out in the very early morning is too traumatic for me! :D I admire people doing so though!

Thanks for sharing

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15 minutes ago, Piero said:

Another lovely report Kevin! :)

I don't have a problem to stay up all night, but waking up to go out in the very early morning is too traumatic for me! :D I admire people doing so though!

Thanks!  I think getting up is easier with age :happy6:

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Lovely report and a fortaste of the pleasures to come.

Thanks for taking the trouble to brighten up another dull, wet, windy evening.

Good luck and enjoy.

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