Yea, well. I was all hyped up for exploring eight objects in Canes Venatici last night, (the night of the 26th), and it didn’t pan out. Three reasons. First, I got into starting to do some lunar photography, then, I didn’t quite align the telescope as well as I’d done the previous two nights. And when I started using it, I found Canis Venatici was too high. In the observatory, see, the zenith is obscured.
Of course, the zenith moves over time, so it’s not a major problem. It just meant my prepared list was null and void.
So first, a couple of lunar shots. One through my 4″ Skywatcher dob from my home…
and a ‘closer’ shot from the observatory where I’ve labelled the Wrottersley impact crater, (named after the local astronomer Lord Wrottersley). His observatory was only three and a half miles east of where our much more modest observatory is now.
It was well after 11pm when I started looking for deep-sky stuff, and it seemed still lightly cloudy, so I had a look at a few brighter deep sky objects like M13, but even the Dumbell Nebula was a faint haze.
The Scope was aligned pretty good around Perseus/Cassiopeia, and although that’s not a particularly dark part of the sky – and it’s very low around now – I had a wander round familiar sights like the double cluster (almost in the same field of view with a 25mm eyepiece).
Why did the go-to find the double cluster easily, yet wouldn’t centre on M3? Perhaps it’s the levelling of the tripod.
M103 is a really nice open cluster with a recognisable arrowhead or triangle shape. Staying in Cassiopeia I looked at NGC 7419, a very pretty, obvious open cluster, and NGC 129 a unspectacular (in these skies), sparse open cluster.
M52 nearby showed of its undoubted Messier status by so obviously out-shining the previous two clusters. A very pleasing cluster, even in this bright not quite dark summery sky, with two brighter stars in its midst, like two cosmic eyes.
Did some constellation photography, and I’ve yet to look at those pictures.
I think I wussed out by packing up at about 20 past midnight. When I got to the van, the sky was looking much darker and quite inky. I spend a bit more time with my 10×50 binoculars, and called it a night.
The Eight Wonders of Canes Venatici (which is my title for the list I made up), would have to wait for another evening.