23 August 2019

After driving back from a somewhat cloudy holiday in Broadhaven, Pembroke the sky has suddenly cleared for the bank holiday heatwave.  Time to roll back the observatory roof and remind myself what stars look like.

With Sky Safari now connected, I enjoy M27 and M11 while my eyes adjust to the dark.  It is at this point I notice that the sky is covered in fine cirrus that now dims the background stars. 

All observations made with C11 and 20mm APM 100 degree eyepiece giving x140 and 0.7deg field of view.

M13 GC Her wow, lovely sight at x140 and with x2 barlow.  Nearby galaxy NGC 6207 also noted.

NGC 6712 GC Scu quite indistinct grey gauze, not helped by cloud.  Will return later.

NGC 6992 & 6995 Western Veil with 31mm Hyperion and UHC always glorious but subtly washed washed out as cirrus spreads across the sky.

NGC 6960 Eastern Veil   northern part is much brighter than the southern part

Now at 2300Z (midnight local) the cirrus has drifted away, returned to NGC 6712 hinting at granularity with some stars visible.

NGC 7008 PN Cyg small puffball tiny, only 1-2 arc minutes across, responds well to averted vision.

0100, noticed garden lit up.  Thought it was neighbours light but actually it was the third-quarter moon rising.  Took a few DSLR pics, beautiful view of sunset on Clavius but too sleepy to sketch/image.

Note the Pleiades rising too!

The moon and Pleaides Rising

24 August 2019

Birthday SPOG night at Casterley but complete cloud cover – except for occasional sucker holes and view of Jupiter and Saturn.  Joined by Patrick O’Donnell, Dave Shave Wall, Lawrence Saville, Peter Triffet and Peter Chappell.

Good fun social but not much astronomy! 

Clouds and Sucker Holes

25 August 2019

If only we had had skies like this yesterday! Beautifully clear with no cirrus at all. After star align I had a quick look at Polaris as it is a double star I have not sketched before.  Primary is creamy-yellow mag 2 with much fainter mag 9 secondary hiding in the glare only 18.6” away.

Sketched the field stars of M13 as it was getting dark before sketching the glob itself once it was dark.  Amazing view, it grows with time at the eyepiece and averted vision.  Note the propeller / Mercedes symbol in the centre.  Left-hand side brighter as shown.  Numerous arms and tendrils radiate out.  Quite hard to sketch the mottling and lanes of stars.  Beautiful!

Returned to NGC 6712 but the view was much the same as the 23 August. Rather non-descript after M13 but faint, although no mottling seen tonight.

Had tea break with Ruth and then used 15×50 binos to look at RCrB.  Guestimated the brightness as three-quarters between FF (5.0) and HH (7.1) = mag 6.5.  Quite hard to estimate!

Star hopped from Deneb to the Veil complex.  The Western Veil around M52 was visible as faint line of candle smoke, disappointed that the normally bright western complex (NGC 6990-5) was so dim until I realised that I was looking at Pickering’s Triangle, NGC 6974 in the middle.  Panning across showed the brighter component.  First time I have seen the fainter component!

North American nebula was easy with the UHC filters.  The complex around Mexico and central America was very prominent.  Amazing benefit from using UHC. 

Quickly packed binos away and then returned to observatory for quick look at M31 with the C11 now it is quite high with the Pleiades not far behind – winter is coming!