Posts in category 'astronomy'
Oh Beautiful Saturn
So, I finally got around to taking my scope out of the apartment. It really is an excellent instrument. A very nice size, yet still portable: the scope itself easily fits in my backpack, and the mount is fairly light and portable. Very cool! As a result, I finally got a chance to view Saturn! What a view! The planet and its rings were easily visible, with some atmospheric banding visible. Two of its moons, Titan and Rhea, were also visible. Too bad I still don’t read star charts well, otherwise I could have added some more open clusters to my list. :)
Well, tonight was both fun and disappointing. First, the fun part, I tracked down a fairly easy-to-spot open cluster in Ophiuchus called IC 4665. IC 4665 is a very bright (4.5 mag), large, sparse open cluster, with many brighter stars. Compared to NGC 6633, IC 4665 is definitely brighter and more spread out, spanning almost two full moons in my estimation. Even better, it’s just north of Cebalrai, a 2.8 mag star, making it super easy to find. :)
Now, the disappointing part… the sky was bright tonight! I could barely make out most of my guide stars with the naked eye, making observing really hard. While I tried to view M10 and M12, the seeing just wasn’t good enough. So, no globulars tonight. sigh
Yay! My first globulars! Specifically M15 and M2. Both of these are quite bright objects (mag 5.8 and 6.4, respectively… I think :), hence making them (theoretically) easy to find. Again, I wasted a lot of time verifying that my guide star Enif was really Enif… sigh :)
Anyway, once I had them in my scope, they were pretty easy to spot. Both were relatively dim in the light-polluted sky of Edmonton, making indirect observing necessary. Both looked like fuzzy blobs in my 10mm eyepiece, with M2 looking slightly mishapen. M15 definitely had the brighter core of the two, as well, which makes sense, given it’s density. Definitely very cool. I can’t imagine what they must look like in a clear, dark sky. :)
Well, this entry is being made retroactively. :) I found my first deep-sky object! NGC 6633 is a nice open cluster south of Altair. It took me forever to find it! ‘course, that’s mostly because I spent so much time verifying the stars I was using for guides (specifically, Altair :).
Anyway, NGC 6633 is quite a nice open cluster. Of course, in the city, it looks a little sparse, as many of its lower magnitude stars are too dim to see. However, it’s still quite pretty, and definitely makes a good first target, as it’s fairly bright (mag 4.8) and surrounded by a number of bright stars which make excellent guide stars. Quite rewarding! :)