finally got my “stars” to align – a clear night (well, with moon, but I’d just look at it, right?) with nothing going on in my other hobbies. Set up the scope at dusk, gave it a bit of time to warm to the outside air, then finally went out for a looksee.
The moon was in fine form tonight. Hung out for a while at my favorite place, the Sea of Crisis. Then scoped up and down for about an hour. Tycho was great tonight, the central peak very visible. A real neat one was just next door, the crater Clavius with its string of interior craters – the light was perfect for it. But the real show stopper was Sinus Iridum, just hanging in the moon-dusk, but with the Montes Jura brilliantly illuminated just beyond. I spent quite a bit of time marveling at the spectacle of the thing.
Over to Mars for a bit because it was sliding along to the south, but it wasn’t much to see, since the distance is opening – no star parties for it now. I could maybe make out the icecap but that may have been wishful thinking.
Spun the barrel straight up to Deneb, one of the easier stars to identify. Looked around for some clusters and such – not much to see. However, I did notice a mark for “coathanger” in my planisphere just off the opposite leg of the summer triangle. Curious. Came inside (ugh, my night vision) to check out the internet and see just what the coathanger cluster looked like. Okay, a string of stars with a hook over top; makes sense. Came back out, checked for planes and lit the laser sight (this is why I got this thing, no, not to shoot down planes, but to find things in the middle of empty space). Best-guessed it, put my eye to the eyepiece and danged if I didn’t hit nearly dead on. It jumped right out at me when I started edging about. That was the topper of the evening, to find a cluster on a downtown moonfilled sky. I spent about twenty minutes just carefully tracking it. I’m not sure if I could pull this same stunt twice.
Anyway, a good night to go out – a little moony, but with a warm breeze to keep the chill and bugs off, it was a nice evening to starhop.