December 25, 2011
Six Am Trek - A Star Cluster Surprise
After feeding my cats 'n' dogs I had to do it, it was calling..the night sky was very inviting so I grabbed my binoculars and explored it for a while. Leo is roaring in the west, just under the zenith point. I brought no star maps out so I was a little lost, which was a nice feeling. Then I recognized my sky, I was ready to explore. Sometimes, no matter how well we know the constellations, the sky looks unfamiliar and new when we first step out the backdoor and look up.
I looked at Arcturus and as I moved too the left scouting out galaxies in my binoculars field of view I didn't realize that I went too far and I ended up at the keystone cluster quite accidently. Which was pretty cool, your panning along and a big faint fuzzy clump comes into view. I was also downwards in the sky. After I was done looking at it I retraced where I was around Arcturus just with my eyes and I spotted a space probe going by so I caught it in my binoculars and followed it until It was out of view, streaking from south west to northeast. Cool big orange probe!
I originally set out too view Saturn but by the time I was done being enthralled with the galaxies clouds were moving in. I saw Mars, great too see so many planets out. Saturn I will be back to hunt you down with my eyepiece. We deep sky hunters are a different type of hunter, we shoot for objects in our eyepiece. Now that is the most fascinating hunt mankind can do, in my opinion!