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21st November 2008 from Surrey


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Seeing as it was such a clear night, I left SWMBO and a friend chatting and snuck out to do some observing. As I keep the scopes in an unheated outhouse, the Soligor didn't need much cooling down time. A quick polar align and I was off!

My plan was to take in M42, the Orion Nebula, but at 21:45hrs it was just behind next door's tree, so I looked in the Sky and Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas for some other targets. I've never really looked round Orion much, so this was a good chance. Betelgeuse and Bellatrix were above the tree, so I had a look at them first. Betelgeuse was lovely and orange and, I'm sure, much bigger than any other stars I've seen. I spent a while just gazing and wondering about all that has happened since those light photons left and finally hit my eye!

Next was Bellatrix - Lovely and bright and a good target. Racking up the power from 40mm to 15mm with the 2x barlow, I'm pretty sure I made out IC434 as a faint smudge just next to Bellatrix.

Moving on, I popped the 40mm back in and headed for M45. WOW! Like little jewels on the black velvet backcloth of the sky. Simply stunning! A much wider FOV eyepiece is added to the shopping list now.

A quick scout for M1 proved fruitless, but I wasn't expecting much as it is still in the orange haze of London to the east at that time of night.

Finally, M42 cleared the top of the tree. What a visual delight! All four stars of the Trapezium where clearly visible, as was nebulosity. Despite going up to 7.5mm with the Barlow, I couldn't make out the E & F stars.

By now, I had lost all feeling in my feet (should hve put thicker socks on!) so headed back into the warmth, very happy and contented with my evening's viewing.

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