Having an oh so joyful day at work today, I decided to take the Lightbridge out to the local observing spot instead of stay at home and write research papers. I needed to chill! The night was warm and a bit humid, and the sky was very clear indeed. Seeing was maybe 3/5, there was something high up in the atmosphere which gave stars a blurry appearance. Even my binoculars picked this up.
Anyway, I targeted some galaxies tonight, primarily. I started off with the familiar sight of M81 and M82. Even in the local, light-polluted skies they appeared bright and stood out clearly from the dark background of space. I could see a little bit of detail in the Cigar galaxy, but not too much. I then went onto the M51 "Whirlpool" galaxy, and could only really discern its two central bulges, like two grey eyes looking back at me. I also found the Leo Triplet which are a group of galaxies I have not observed often but need to pay moe attention to. I managed to get all three in the field of view of my Panoptic 22mm, and it was a pleasant sight.
I also checked out the Owl Nebula, and spent some time observing Saturn. I could see a fair amount of surface coloring, and the rings looked elegant as they appeared to pierce the plant through its center. There was a very small level of tilt to the rings that I could observe, as well as maybe three moons.
I was only out for about 1.5 hrs before I felt too tired and needed to come home. Still, it was nice to be under the stars again - it had been a while.
I also took my DSLR and tripod and experimented around a little bit. I took the image below of the Auriga constellation, which consists of around 18*25 second exposures at F5.6, ISO800. I pointed out some of the neater features of the constellation as well.
Click on image for full size