ome from work, out to dinner, then had a look about 8-ish. Looked clear, damned clear. Confirmed it on Clear Sky – 4+ in all categories. No cloud, no haze, no high-altitude winds. Good seeing night. So out came the scope.
The goal tonight was the Andromeda galaxy. This took a bit of doing since it was passing right overhead when I started, and a vertical scope is damned hard to aim. Still, managed to sweep north from Cassiopeia to Pegasus and back, looking for that white stain I’d seen recently in binoculars. And there it was!
Okay, for you non-sky people, it wasn’t like a flat disk with spirals plumbing out in clockwheel fashion. It was kinda a white on-end blob, hazy but nearly distinguishable as a galaxy. But it was cool all the same. I tried hitting it with different lenses and filters and got some good views, up until the scope hit the stops. I tried to swing it around to the other side but I couldn’t find it after that. But, yes, I’d had it in my hand for a while there.
Went after old favorites – caught the Pleiades as they came over grandfather pine. Hit Betelgeuse and marveled at its pulsing. Checked out my nebula-in-the-back-pocket, Orion (M42). Then got ambitious and looked for M52 (the Scorpion Cluster). While I can say openly that I didn’t find shit, I did get more comfortable with blind searching (I’ve stopped using the gears, disengaging the scope to swing it free-form – much easier to aim). I put about an hour into that project and didn’t come up with anything that looked like a cluster – lots of Milky Way background but no M52 – I probably tracked through it a couple of times without spotting it. Maybe next time.
Tomorrow night, there is a meteor shower (according to CFAS) so JB and I will grab a couple of deck chairs and sit out for an hour or so after midnight, hoping to catch a falling star. Please, no clouds!