It's very cold. Frigid actually. My scope has a thin layer of ice
on it. Tonight I'm out in my winter gear with a ski cap, fur lined
gloves , and several layers over my torso. The wind is not really
blowing at all and the sky has been very clear, though the seeing is a
bit sketchy. a 2 at best. Everything is twinking. Mars wasn't stable at
200 power so more was useless. I really didn't see much detail except
for a smudgy line across the face that nearly went across the entire
face. Hints of other patches, but nothig definite.
As I step inside to type session notes on my computer, each time I
return outside the fog is thicker and thicker. I cannot see the trees
that are 30 yards away. Well.. barely see them. The light from my green
laser is extremely bright in the moist air nearly ruining my night
vision, for what it's worth.
It's 11:41 and I've been out since 8:30pm. I ran through a bunch of Fall Messier objects mostly to keep myself sharp:
M1, M31, M32, M33, M34, M35,M36
M74 (not visible),
I'm mostly concentrating on the objects from Fall and Winter since it's been nearly a year since I looked at many of them.
To make the night a bit more interesting I wanted to try and find a few
new objects. That's only working so-so because I need to look for
bright objects on a damp night like this. Though the moon has set, the
sky is washed out because of the fog and light pollution from Portland
bouncing off of the moisture in the air.
I was hoping to stay up to catch a glimpse of Saturn. But it's not
going to happen.. Maybe next time. Tonight, it's too cold and waaaay
Here are some comments on the new objects:
NGC 1582 - Open Cluster
This object looked like a small version of Draco. There
are several dimmer stars around a central set of brighter stars that
are somewhat "S" shaped with a triangular head much like the Draco
NGC 1647 - Open Cluster
interesting open clsuster. This one is comprised of many dim stars.
Perhaps 20 or so. In looking at Starry Night, I see that the brightest
star is 8.32 magnitude. There were several of what looked like binary
pairs though it could just be the manner of the groupings. They made up
a semi-circle like half of the Fairy Ring in Cygnus. A somewhat large
and dispersed open cluster. Besides the few binaries, there were not
many tight groupings at all.
NGC 1662 - Open Cluster
Just as I found this object, the ground fog began to get
very thick. I can only see the brightest of these stars (8.4 mag). This
cluster also resembles a constellation: it looks like an elongated
Cepheus. A rectangular shape at the bottom, and a single star at the
top making that familiar house (I mean king - heh) shape. I can only
see about 7 stars with what looks like may be more in the center of the
cluster, but far fainter stars than the main 7 bright ones.
That's it. I'm packing it in for the night. Perhaps I will get to observe again tomorrow.