The clouds have been clinging to the Midlands like glue. I’m sick of them. On Saturday I did manage to get another glimpse of Venus, and got an image, taken from the road to Albrighton.
With only a small scope, it was difficult to focus, but the disc can be seen, as well as the partial phase. Hopefully I’ll get some more shots as it travels round the Sun, getting closer to Earth and showing a larger crescent. I used my SLR on my little Skywatcher Dob. Not the most robust set-up, but very usable for ‘roadside astronomy’. I can set it up on the bonnet of the van.
Talking about astro-gear, I’ve splashed out on some new binoculars. They’re Opticrom 10x50s and retail at £240. First Light Optics are selling them for £99, and I just couldn’t pass that up. My old 10x50s had been nocked out of line, so I had to buy some more. As usual, when you buy astro gear, it’s cloudy for weeks. I did manage a quick test between clouds over Tong, (a little lay-by observing site I sometimes use). I only had ten minutes before the clouds rolled in, but I managed views of M36 (Pinwheel Cluster), and M38 (The Starfish Cluster), The Beehive Cluster, the double cluster, and I think M51, but once I’d checked my sky atlas, the clouds had beat me to confirmation. Quite annoying, to only get a brief window when you’re dying to try out new gear.
I’ve bought Steve Tonkin’s book on Binocular Astronomy too, and along with the Sky at Night ‘Binocular View’ feature, I’m looking forward to some good binocular astronomy over the summer.
Lastly, some society pictures. I’ve been setting up a bookshop at our regular meetings, and it’s going really well. Less successful are our observing nights. We’ve had two group sessions so far, in five months. Damn clouds.