Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Yesterday was cloudy, windy at times, and spotting with rain, the Sun was nowhere to be seen for much of the day...!

I really was looking forward to visiting Cygnus with the Tal.

I wondered if I would be able to observe at all tonight.

The evening arrived, the clouds moved away, and a glorious summery evening was revealed.

By midnight the skies had darkened enough to get out there and observe.........

First on my list Albireo........

Albireo was the first double I ever viewed, back in 1979 with my 40mm Tasco table top refractor.

This double will always evoke fond memories.

Tonight though it was not shining with it's usual intensity, probably because of atmospheric turbulence.....

Sadr was next on the list, but as always, there are so many stars in this region that I was easily distracted.

I happily wandered of on a mini tour of our Galaxy with my 32mm eyepiece.

I then spotted a beautiful meteor......

It's radiant was close to Sadr and it made its way fairly slowly towards Ras Algethi.

It was at least of first magnitude, maybe slightly brighter, and golden in colour.

This event brought on a haiku:

Bright Meteor 
Racing across the night sky
But a speck of dust....

M13 next.... the 25mm plossl displayed it easily .
The view with my 8mm hinted at individual stars on the perimeter with averted vision.

M57 was easily found with the 25mm. The 8mm didn't  give any more detail, as expected.

From M57 it was up to the Double Double Epsilon Lyrae.
The 8mm xcel and x2 barlow displayed lovely Airy discs on all four marble white stars, a fitting testament to the Tals mirror.

I like John Herschels' description of these discs:     ...the star is then seen (in favourable circumstances of tranquil atmosphere, uniform temperature, &c.) as a perfectly round, well-defined planetary disc, surrounded by two, three, or more alternately dark and bright rings, which, if examined attentively, are seen to be slightly coloured at their borders. They succeed each other nearly at equal intervals round the central disc....   * source at foot of this post

Gamma Delphinus was next, though tonight like Albireo it was slightly fuzzy and not at it's best.

M71 in Sagitta...  found it with the 25mm plossl, but it was fainter than usual, probably due to the light pollution from a nearby streetlight....

Vulpecula next and M27...I found it easily with the 25mm, and it was quite impressive with the 8mm.
The dumbell shape was slightly hinted..very slightly.

An interesting point was.... that with the 25mm eyepiece I could make the Dumbell disappear with direct vision...then make it reappear with averted vision..

It was getting late by now, so I decided to have one last look at Cygnus.

I spotted M56, it was barely a smudge in the 25mm plossl... a little bit more of flying over the Milky Way ..

Then it was time to pack up....

I spent another 10 minutes or so just lying on the observatory floor, looking up and just marvelling at it all.

As John Cage once said "Everyone is in the best seat"

Whilst spying the glorious heavens above tonight..it sure felt like it......

*   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airy_disk

The wonky Plough in Orion's Belt.

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