Tag: stars


Stargazing

17
February

His lids came down on the lower rims of his irides.  Can’t see it.  If you imagine it’s there you can almost see it.  Can’t see it.
He faced about and, standing between the awnings, held out his right hand at arm’s length towards the sun.  Wanted to try that often.  Yes: completely.

The staturday before the full moon.  This is my normal spot.  A few whispy clouds, but not enough to matter, and moving pretty quick.  I made a list beforehand this time.  Orion, of course easy.  Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Pegasus, Gemini, Leo.  Can’t tell, really what will be available.  Trees obscure some of the, well all of the horizons from here.  I can put my chair here, and there’s Fred with the club’s 20 inch, or maybe 24.  Fred told me long time ago “that’s the best scope out here”, and he was talking about Kathy’s 6 inch Orion SkyQuest. Felt better after that, and even better when he could find everything with it.

Accessory box, backpack with books and charts.  Now, go get the scope.  Down the hill and around to the parking lot.  The lot is a good place to park for two reasons.  It is away from the field so when no one is disturbed by the headlights, which for some reason Toyota decided to make impossible to turn off.  Okay.  Then leave the closer parking to the people with more equipment.  The one guy has a trailer full of things.  Wonder what it all is.  So put the chair here.  This time of year we don’t worry about bugs, or ants.

Past the butterfly garden.  There are no butterflies this time of year, but maybe cocoons?  Need to check that out during the day sometime.  Could I ride my bicycle up here?  Pretty good hill coming up.  Orion is coming up over the parking lot.  In the southern sky, I think.  A compass would be useful.  Or some way to tell directions.  Well, there is the North Star.  Supposed to be a double.  Put that on the list.  Back up carrying the scope and the base.  Dobson had a good idea.  Particle board is really heavy, makes a good Dobsonian base.  In five minutes, ready to look.  Oh, adjust the finders.  It is dark enough now, to see Jupiter in the west.  And, not sure what that is, but it will work to calibrate.  Two finders, one is the Telrad.  Seems good enough.  Not going to both with collimation.  Lots of computer drives whirring.  Charlie is here with his 12.  Ed has something elaborate, and some computer sky charts to help find unusual objects.

“Can you see Jupiter through this?” “Yes, let me find it for you.  There.  Try that, you might have to focus.”  “Oh that is nice. And you can see the moons. ”

The kid knows more than I do about Jupiter and everything else.  What about Saturn.  Sometime after morning, I think.Almost nothing that I planned on seems to be visible.  But, there is Orion, and a bit north, Auriga.  In Auriga there are three really nice clusters (open clusters).  So, let me try.  Does this Telrad work?  Amazingly, I am seeing things.  The red circles are right on the finder stars and a bit to the east?  And there it is.  Between beta and theta, M37.  I found it?  I found it. Well, M36 and M38 also in Auriga are next.  But wait.  The clouds are coming in, and Auriga is completely covered.  Back to Jupiter, over to Orion.  Except for the random cloud it is a very clear night.  Not cold at all. The clouds move off of Auriga.  And yes.  Yes.  The Telrad is bringing things in.  M36 and M38.  This is great.

“What is that up there?”
“Pleides.  Some people think it looks like a little dipper.  Here, use the binoculars you can see it.”
“Wow, that is great.”

There was a song about “Follow the drinking gourd”.  I suppose that is a reference to the fact that the big dipper points to the North Star.  There over that tree is the North Star.  Always in the north, always in the same place?  Yes, and that is the big dipper coming up  there in the northeast.  It is an asterism, I guess.  Something easy to see, and I think it is always up sometime at any time of the year.  So, you can use that to find the North Star, and if you are trying to escape to the North, that is a good guide.  Some stability in the sky relative to the earth.  A fixed point.

This is like shepards out in their fields looking up.  Maybe an angel of the lord.  Though I don’t think they were sitting in folding camp chairs.  Still, if you look up you see what they saw.  If you look down, you see what we have done.  Oh, there is Gemini. M35 is in Gemini.  With the Telrad working, I should be able to find that.  And yes.  Another  beautiful open cluster.  2.2 degrees NW of Propus.  You are supposed to be able to see NGC 2158.  Can’t see it.  Scott reminds us that Castor is a double.  I can split it with a 10mm.  Sort of split with a 25mm, maybe.

And, finally, M44.  Another open cluster.  One of the first I had ever seen.  And tonight I am seeing it again.  Don’t need the Telrad for this one.  Easy spot.  Right in the middle of Cancer.  Oh, yes.  The Bee Hive.

Sorry, I misidentified this one first time I posted this.  I don’t remember why I did.

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