Monday, August 10, 2015

Visual Night Out

The last couple of months have not been too conducive to stargazing for me.I went home to Australia for a while with the best intentions of doing some astro work, but the Melbourne weather had other plans, which included "hosting" an Antarctic polar vortex which brought heavy rain to the area for much of my visit. I caught a fleeting glimpse of the Southern Cross, but that was about it.

I took my 12" Lightbridge out for some visual observations this past Friday. The weather here in Texas was exceptionally warm, but the skies were clear and rather steady. I think I set the scope up, including perfecting collimation, in record time - well under 5 minutes!

Saturn looked amazing. It had been a long time since I have viewed it, and the planet tilt in relation to our position made for a great view. I could clearly see Encke's Division, and several moons. Quite a sight!!!

Other visual targets for the night included the Ring Nebula, the M4 globular in Antares, M13 in Hercules (absolutely stunning tonight!), the Lagoon and Triffid nebulas and the Sagittarius Star Cloud. I also spied the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy which, despite heavy light pollution, revealed the two central bulges of the interlocked galaxies.

Great night out!

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