ver at the train club rather late with friends, putting the finishing touches on a falling-down barn I’ve been building for the sectional layout, a rustic structure that required the placement of individual shingles on the roof (and took six weeks to complete). When we got home, the wife pointed out that the moon was full and the sky clear. Dammit – great. It’s going on 10 and I’ve got a bike ride tomorrow morning. Gotta get up early.
Still, the binoculars will give me a good look.
Stayed out longer than I thought. Moved to one part of the grounds and looked at the Pleiades, my old friends. Took a bit to find them, what with the full moon and my unadjusted eyes, but finally there they were. Moved to another section of ground and there was Cassiopeia, the big W (give it your best Jimmy Durante). Had my star wheel out and found something named the double cluster, just above and a touch to the right. Locked on the tail of Cassie and rolled up and there it was – two seemingly (through ‘noks, at least) clusters of stars against the milky way. Like all my other sightings, I got the feel for them quickly and could find them reliably – located them three more times while poking about for M52 (which eluded me). Anyway, looked them up on my larger planosphere and found them officially named NGC 869 and 884, so howdy boys!
Since tomorrow is my birthday, I decided to dip around a bit. Back to the Pleiades, then since Orion was still low and I had the nok-brace on, I locked onto M42, that hazy nebula, my first love. Looked at it for long minutes. Then ended the night (burning out my night vision) looking up at the full moon. How nice of her to come out for my birthday and give me a full show, with all my favorite craters and seas, all visible.
So a great night with a set of noks and a brace in the backyard while two different parties were going on to either side (noisy buggers). I’m pretty excited – I just ordered a light pollution filter for my ST 120. I can’t wait to see what that does for some of my casual off-the-deck viewing.