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After 2 weeks of unbroken clouds, a hint of 'orange' on Clear Outside led me to check the skies at midnight. It was lucky I did, as I found the clouds clearing from the south, with half the sky perfectly clear. It wasn't particularly cold either; I was outside in a hoodie, no coat required (although my wife always moans that I don't feel the cold, especially when I'm turnign the heating down).

So I settled down in a deckchair to watch for some Geminids and took the bins out too. After a half-a-dozen bright meteors (in less than 10 minutes) I started to scan the sky for some familiar sights. I've only had a telescope since lockdown started, but binoculars for many years. However, what I've seen this year in the dob means I can observe things now with fresh eyes and look for things that I never realised I could see with binoculars before.

To start with - the usual suspects. Andromeda, Double Cluster, Perseus moving group, Pleiades, Hyades, Great Orion Cluster, Behive (first time this season). However, I paid more attention to M42 now that I've seen in up close, and I'm sure I could see some nebulosity around the stars to the north of it. Is the Running Man nebula visible is binoculars (Bortle 5/6)? Also managed to catch a meteor in the binocular view of the Beehive cluster.

The sky was fantastically transparent and Auriga was directly ahead, so I thought I would try and observe the clusters around there. And lo and behold I could! M35, M36, M37 and M38 - with the 'leaping minnow' pointing the way. Just round grey smudges, but perfectly distinct. All the time, I'm aware of the shooting stars around me, too.

But I have an early start tomorrow, so couldn't stay out too long. Who knows when it'll be clear again! I'm desperate to see the conjunction over the next week or so. Fingers crossed.

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Nice report! I love scanning idly the sky with binoculars when I don't feel like setting up a scope with all the hassle this involves in winter.

Yesterday night was breezy here but very transparent. I can recommend another binocular target:The Christmas tree cluster. Just follow the line from Bellatrix to Betelgeuse and continue about one step. I hadn't observed this one before and it's perfect for binoculars, looks like a small upside down Christmas tree.

 

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42 minutes ago, Nik271 said:

Nice report! I love scanning idly the sky with binoculars when I don't feel like setting up a scope with all the hassle this involves in winter.

Yesterday night was breezy here but very transparent. I can recommend another binocular target:The Christmas tree cluster. Just follow the line from Bellatrix to Betelgeuse and continue about one step. I hadn't observed this one before and it's perfect for binoculars, looks like a small upside down Christmas tree.

 

Cool, thanks. I've seen it in the scope but not the bins. It's on the list, now.

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Nice report... I often have sessions like that, laid back in a chair and the targets seem familiar too... I always check out the Auriga clusters - as you said, only smudges, but always nice to look at..

Also very nice to see some meteors... The last few showers have been ruined of course with all the cloud, but maybe I'll catch a few later this week...

Mark

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