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!  

Very nice and heartwarming too see Hercules and Lyra, Vega , and in the southeast the three stars of Scorpio was rising.  I scoured between the Big Dipper  and Virgo and found lots of galaxies, dimmer and smaller than I'm used too seeing them in my telescope, but still fascinating.

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!  


Paulie said...

Saturn is well worth the look. The rings are open more than I've ever seen.

Stefaan said...

One of my favourites, the Keystone Cluster!
So rewarding to resolve the stars to the core

Malcolm Scrimger said...

Do you have dark skies where you are? I don't have any optical aids anymore but I still enjoy the sky. I belong to the RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) Victoria Centre and create their newsletter.

Keep looking up. Oh the Moon is beside Venus tonight. I just wish the sky was clear too see it.

NiteSkyGirl said...

Yes I have good dark skies, lights around my ton but being by a cornfield gives me an advantage of no lights around my backyard.

Caleb B said...


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