I began my night of viewing by observing the"Orion Nebula" (Messier 42). I'm just trying to get my viewing of the great nebula in before it is no longer viewable until next winter. I just can't seem to get enough of it. A magnification of 108x makes the details really come to life.
My favorite view of the night was Saturn! This year, it is tilting with the south pole facing the Earth. The planets rings are really staring you right in the face. I looked at Saturn at a magnification of 52x and 108x. I could clearly see the separation between the rings and Saturn. I'm going to have plenty of fun looking at Saturn this year. It is lying in the constellation Virgo about 10º East of the brightest star of Virgo...Spica.
Then I was looking at a couple of open clusters in Gemini and Auriga. Messier 35, 36, 37 and 38. Open clusters have always been my favorite things to look at. There is just some kind of beauty in them. Open clusters are like gems or diamonds all grouped together.
I also looked at Mars which would be a little better if I had a stronger telescope. My 4 inch doesn't reveal a whole lot. One of these days I will own an 8 inch.
Of course the Moon was brilliant. It is currently a waxing gibbous at 99% full. I can't look at that too long unless I want to seriously damage my eye and see spots in one eye for the rest of my life. I am in need of some filters.
Well, that was my night. I plan on going out a couple of times this week. The weather is supposed to cooperate for the next couple of nights and I have a couple of days off of school. A much needed break!
Thanks for reading,