Thanks to the mild weather of July and most of August, Helen and I have spent most of our evenings observing the stars from the comfort of our garden shed.
The only astronomical equipment I have used these past six weeks, apart from a few quick peeks with Tal2, has been my sleeping bag.
Simply lying in the shed with my head stuck out the door entrance has been a welcome change. It must be about six years since we were last able to sleep outside for extended periods.
At the start of July it was interesting to note that Vega around midnight was somewhat East of the zenith, whilst now around midnight some five weeks later, it has noticeably passed the zenith and is making its way Westward.
As a child, at this time of year I would spend many an evening on my parent's farm, lying in a field and watching the stars pass by.
Alternatively I would be found in my grandmother's garden lying on the garden bench, stargazing till the early hours... often I would fall asleep..!
I really enjoy using my telescopes and binoculars and cameras, but nothing beats those extended periods of simply lying under the stars and looking up.
If I had the choice of only one astronomical instrument it would be the sleeping bag, and a clear night to view by.
The Perseid Shower.
|The rising Pleiades heralds the Autumn nights|
I tried to capture a Perseid meteor with our camera, but unfortunately those little spots of space dust had different ideas.
Several meteors were seen, but unfortunately none made it to the camera's sensor.....!!
Never mind......... I decided to put away the camera and retire to the comfort of the sleeping bag.
The Perseids seemed much faster this year. Out of the dozen or so I observed, only one was around first magnitude, the rest seemed to average about third magnitude.
For someone used to the darkness of the countryside, these past 12 years have been really frustrating.
Many an observing session has been cut short due to the glow of the nearby lights....!!!!
But thankfully now, on most nights after midnight, I can once again enjoy the night skies without the pallid sodium glow of those blasted streetlights....!
I understand completely the need for lighting in key areas, but most of those we have in this county are not needed, and cost far too much money to justify their continued use.
I now see the Pleiades once again rising in the early morning; a sight I have been unable to see properly from our front garden in all the time we have lived here.. !
I get to see the Eastern skies again, and our county saves about £200,000 per annum on the electricity bill.