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January 21, 2016 January 21, 2016

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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After a long string of cloudy nights, tonight there was finally a clearing. The wind was minimal but it was still chilly. Went to the neighborhood park and observed from there for the first time. It was brighter there than I expected, several floodlights were installed and the surrounding buildings and school contributed to the light pollution as well. The moon was high up in the sky, almost full. Through my 10x50s it was a splendid sight. To its bottom left was a star, Alhena. This star is part of the constellation Gemini, one of the prominent winter constellations.


According to Wikipedia Alhena is the third brightest star in the constellation.

Also had a great naked eye view of Orion, but the constellation is already past its prime as we are approaching February. Through binoculars, the Orion Nebula was briefly visible but still the moon and surrounding light hampered its splendor.

Finally toured the nearby Pleiades before heading home. Looking forward to an exciting year of astronomy.

January 21, 2011 January 22, 2011

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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T-Shaped Formation of Stars in Taurus the Bull

Object: Stars

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Bad

Transparency: Good

Type: Deep Sky

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 Degrees

Observing Time: 11.13 – 11:20pm

Notes: A cosmic T-shape formation a few degrees to the East of Taurus the Bull.  Made up primarily of six relatively bright stars, all were white.  Also had a chance to observe the Pleiades.  Compared to last year when I observed it, they seem to have lost their cloudy complexion, which was out of the ordinary and felt strange at first glance.  It might be effects of the atmosphere, or my binoculars being slightly out of focus– nevertheless they looked purely like a small clump of stars.  Very interesting.

UPDATE: Never mind, I never observed any nebulosity last year… click the link below to go back to my observing record last year, when I observed the Pleiades.


January 22, 2010 January 30, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.

Photorealistic Image in Stellarium

Object: Pleiades

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Average

Transparency: 3

Type: Nebula

Size: 30′

Magnitude: 2.85

Constellation: Taurus

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 degrees

Observing Time: 9:55 pm – 10:30 pm

Notes: NGC 1432- The Pleiades.  Spectacular through binoculars!  Amazing, I was surprised that something this beautiful is in reach right outside my front door.  It wouldn’t have looked so pretty through a telescope because of the telescope’s inherently limited FOV, one of the strong points of observing with binoculars.  I was able to draw the Pleiades in moderate detail, hitting all the brightest stars.  I will post the sketch when I get the camera back.  22 stars drawn in total; very interesting how my drawing distorted the relative positions of the stars, it proved that everybody needs practice when first making drawings (or starting anything new, for that matter).  I was surprised that there were a lot of fainter stars visible through binoculars in the same field, giving the experience of looking through a porthole travelling through the expanse of space.  Observed no nebulosity, however (need more aperture, and here is where a telescope might come in handy).   All in all, this will be one of the all-time highlights of my observing sessions with binoculars.  The Pleiades were known to the Greeks in the ancient times to be seven sisters, and elaborate myths from many cultures surround this beautiful cluster of stars.

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