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Last nights session was hurried as clouds were on the horizon and getting closer, giving me an hour or so but in that hour I had a great time. Right away I trained my sights on M42 and the trapezium, it seems no matter how much I would like relish in whatever nebulosity a 4”er and good seeing will allow, I always just end up saying Meh, and reaching for higher power as I am strangely drawn to the heart of M42. It’s those E&F stars that I find fascinating, I love the challenge of looking for stars at the threshold of my refractor and eyeballs. Seeing was pretty good, it didn’t take long for my eyes to adjust and there were E&F stars, just barely visible but stable and unmistakable in my 5mm XW. 

Once I was satisfied with having seen the elusive (in a 4”) E&F stars I remembered a nearby double which I enjoyed many times before, Eta Orionis is a pretty double with it’s slightly smaller companion  being so close. A quick peek at SkySafari reveals this is actually a quintuplet system but the others are beyond the reach of any telescope, it seems. Some say that the smaller component of Eta Orionis appears purplish, I would have to agree! I have seen this star before but never have I noticed the slight purplish appearance of the smalller component, it was wonderful.

A hop and a skip nearby just a  was comet C 2022 everyone has been raving about so I just couldn’t pack up before seeing it, I have been so frustrated about two months of unrelenting clouds, combined with hype in the past week I was going to see this comet of I strained my eyes to the point of myopia. It didn’t take me long to find it, but I have to say that short of a tiny smudge with a pinpoint of light at its center,  I was happy to see it but I didn’t fall out of my chair.  Last up was Mars, just as the clouds were minutes away, Mara looked impressive for such a small dot it is. Mars displayed a wonderful orangy bronze-ish color that appeared so natural, I was able to see some faint surface detail but the planet is so small,  I could have totally Percival Lowell’d that observation. 😅 by now I decided to head inside and be happy with my first session in weeks, have to take what we can get and be happy.



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