Monday, 6 February 2012

Pickering, the Moon, Mars and Leo.

I thought tonight would be a no go for astronomy as the clouds were back, and they covered much of the darkening sky. 

I managed a quick photo of the Moon before it disappeared into the bullying clouds..

By the look of those clouds it seemed better to head indoors and sit by a warming fire.

I happened to go outside about 11.00pm and was greeted with a beautiful smiling Moon looking down at me from a completely cloud free sky .Coat,hat and scarf on... and quickly out to the observatory and roll back the roof....!!!!  :0)

The Moon was about 98% illuminated so many of the stars were washed out by the radiance of the bright moonlight... But I was able to make out a a few of the main constellations.

The one that caught my eye was Leo the Lion which was positioned right next to the Moon.

Considering the proximity of Leo to the moon Gamma Leonis "Algeiba" was easily resolved with a x3 Barlow and both the 25mm plossl and the 15mm plossl... 

These two little beauties are said to be both yellow in colour, but tonight my retina was picking up yellow on the primary star and grey/light blue on the secondary. 

It's always intrigued  me as to how every observer will see different colour variations in the same star..

Hello Mars nice to see you again.....

Hello it was... as I haven't yet attempted observing Mars this time around. 

Tonight was "first martian light" for the Tal1.  

First martian light went well, the Tal1 exceeded my expectations, and delivered a wonderful view of the Northern polar cap. 

Now that I know that the Tal1 is up to the challenge, I'm hoping to be glued to the eyepiece over the next few weeks as the red planet draws closer and closer, until it closest approach on the 5th of March. 

This time around Mars will be 100.78 million km away. 

Thankfully this distance between our worlds will undoubtedly  thwart any possible Martian invaders, that might be spying our planet with envious eyes.....!!!  :))

Humbling to think that if you ever decided to walk to Mars, it would only take about 4000 years to complete the trek....  No wonder it's so difficult to obtain a decent image in the eyepiece...  :0))

Moonshine everywhere......

As the Moon was so prominent last night I had to try a quick capture afocally with my small digicam.

Only one thing left to do tonight before the observatory roof was parked up.......

Simply lean against the observatory roof opening....

NO cameras or telescopes , NO pencils and paper....and then just look up at the night sky....!!!

AND DREAM......!!!!  :0))


  1. Awesome post Pembs!

    "bullying clouds"

    "sit by the fire"

    "first Martian light"

    "only one thing left to do tonight"

    "simply lean"

    I was there with you as I read this....

    This is why I so look forward to your latest wordsmithing!

    1. Thank You SUG... :0)).....such lovely comments.... :0))

      I'm now lost for words...... :0))

      Just one more Welsh "DIOLCH"

      p.s. I can't wait to get the Tal back to Mars.......

  2. Hey Pembs.
    I'm not sure if I want to thank you or curse you but last night after reading your post I was motivated to leave the warm confines of my couch at 11:45 PM EST and pull out the 10" Dob into 20 degree weather for my first Martian views in some time. I'm glad I did as I was treated to quite the extraordinary views of the red planet and its northern polar cap was spectacular. Of course I could not resist perusing the limb of the waning moon.
    As you did the night before, I too had excellent seeing for a change to enjoy Luna as well. I even identified crater Ulugh Beigh which I don't recall ever even hearing of... I think its named after a friend of the SUG.
    Thanks for getting me out there! I enjoy reading your posts.
    Now I have to call the SUG and listen to his endless astro banter!

    1. Hi Drive by Astronomy,

      Thanks for dropping by my blog, and for reading my posts.. :0)

      I'm glad you got to see the North polar cap I haven't seen any detail on Mars since I think January of 2010.....

      Whilst Mars is here I'm going to make the most of this red beauty.... and try to observe whenever I can, before our two worlds drift apart once again..

      I've still yet to find Ullugh Beigh...after all these years of observing there's still so much to find on the Moon...

      "I think its named after a friend of the SUG" ........Ha Ha Ha :0))))

      Pulling out a telescope in 20 degree weather at 11:45pm ...!!!! only an astronomer would do that.... :)))

      And long may we all get out there on the cold nights..

      Thanks Drive by Astronomy......Say hello to SUG for me when you phone him... :0)


      Mark (Pembs)