It’s been annoyingly cloudy these past few weeks, but I did manage a binocular tour with the 10×50 Opticroms last night near Craven Arms, about 1am. Very clear skies, and the Moon was quite low, (about 75% lit), but it didn’t seem to hinder the seeing.
I’m not sure if I’ve seen Taurus this summer yet, but there it was lovely, Alderberran glorious with its ruddy hue, and Taurus is obviously a fine binocular target. Both the Hyades and Pleiades looked lovely.
And Auriga is now well above the horizon, (I’ve been watching Cappella skirt the horizon over the summer. It must be the lowest ‘circumpolar’ bright star at my latitude).
I easily found the Leaping Minnow asterism, that points to the open cluster M36, easily seen as a hazy patch in the bins. And below, M38 and M37, the three reat open cluster of Auriga.
I looked lower perchance to see the great Gemini Cluster (M35) but no luck yet.
I spent a clumsy minute looking for the square of Pegasus, which was much higher than I expected. Andromeda, to the left, was easily found with the Andromeda Galay a pleasing naked eye object. Through the bins it was a real treat, extending ghostly luminosity much wider than the bright nucleus.
The Triangulum galaxy (M33) was very bright and big. I was very surprised, but look how high Triangulum is at this time of year! Most pleasing to see.
I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t locate supernova remnant M1. I simply don’t know where it is without a map.
The Double Cluster was easily found and beautiful. I followed the Perseus ‘river of stars’ down – it’s superbly placed in the early hours now.
Turning round, the star-fields of Cygnus are really something else under a dark sky. I tried to find the anvil-shaped open cluster of M29. But I was getting confused, as I imagined M29 to be where M39 is. No matter, I found M39 as a distinct triangle-shaped small, bright cluster. Of my three Messier ‘bibles’, the Messier Album gives the best representation and description of what I saw of M39 through my bins last night.
Mars was high and wonderfully pink, and a fireball/meteorite was seen, golden in colour and at least mag 4 plus, about 1.30, heading south-east of Cygnus. Magical!