|Viewing Log: New Year's Day - East Kennett|
1st January 2010
sky looked good, and as it was a full moon (a blue moon in fact, being the second
full moon of the month) we focused on earth's satellite first of all, bright even
with moon filters on.
M103 (or NGC 581) in Cassiopeia
663 is probably one of the nicest open clusters in the area and consists of a
collection of about 15 visible stars and is by no means dwarfed by its more numerous
neighbour, both sat quite comfortably in the Panaview and was therefore great
to compare, the mass of both seemingly not greatly different from one another,
though NGC 663 was a bit smaller - however, there were a lot of other stars in
this dark area of the sky. So, a great night to view, even with a full moon. |
We then looked at both Jupiter and Mars, they both looked red! Perhaps it was just the strange light - we didn't know it at the time but it was about to snow. Anyway, we packed up after some hot drinks and then made our way home.
|Viewing Log: Sunday 20 December 2009 - East Kennett|
M82, which we viewed along with M81 high above The Plough,
not as colourful as this Hubble image but a thrill to see!
Credit: M82 Chandra HST Spitzer
It was a bitterly cold night but often that is the best kind of night to go out stargazing. Four of us met at the Red Lion and then travelled to our viewing spot at East Kennett just a couple of miles away. Hilary and I were pleased to have with us two very experienced amateur astronomers, Peter Chappell and Jonathan Gale (from the Wiltshire Astronomical Society).
It was such a clear sky and the crescent moon shone brightly along with Jupiter and all four moons. Casseopeia looked resplendant and you could easily make out with the naked eye the star clusters and NGC's that impregnate this fascinating constellation. In fact the Milky Way was so clear the whole area was speckled with millions of stars, nebulae and distant galaxies!
Aldebaran in Taurus, Capella in Auriga all nice and bright, along with Vega in Lyra. Altair and Deneb all quickly identified. Also saw Pisces below the square of Pegasus, not always easy to make out! We were also pleased to see Neptune, it's small blue opaque disk in the telescopes of our experienced astronomers, and also found by Hilary in a Meade 90mm refractor, well spotted! We were also pleased to see Mars rise into view around 8pm.
Now, I am not sure what order we saw them in, but we also saw the following objects:
|M1 The Crab Nebula, the supernova remnent in Taurus||M51 The Whirpool Galaxy, a spiral in Canes Venatici|
|M33 Triangulam, a spiral galaxy||M57 The Ring Nebula - a planetary nebula|
|M42 The Orion Nebula and parts of M43 in the same area||M81 Bodes Galaxy high above The Plough|
|M45 The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters||M82 The Cigar Galaxy accompanying M81 above The Plough|
|The Hyades Star Cluster|
|Viewing Log: Friday 26 February 2010 - East Kennett|
and Alcor in the centre of the handle of Ursa Major
All things considered, it was a great, warm night for stargazing and after dodging bad weather and clouds for most of January and February it was also a huge relief to be star gazing again. Phew! Five of us met at our usual meeting place at the Red Lion, and then we set course for the viewing area hidden in the dark Wiltshire countryside.
We had a nearly full, bright, waxing gibbous Moon and so were not able to see the twisting sinews of the Milky Way across our panorama, but the stars and constellations were easy to pick out, and one of first excursions was to the wonders of the Orion Nebula (M42) with its two main bunches of nebulosity as seen with low power eyepeices such as a 32mm or a 24mm.
Next we viewed the Hyades in Taurus right next to Aldebaran, which looked as good as ever. Aldebaran is an old and
extremely bright Red Giant, rivalled only by Betelgeuse (in Orion) in colour and magnitude, and at a distance 65 light years.
We could not visit Taurus without then visiting the Pleiades Cluster (M45), which
was absolutely great. We also endeavoured to look for the Crab Nebula (M1) at
the opposite end of Taurus and though we were in the right spot, the brightness
of the Moon made it near impossible to resolve the Supernova remnant, a mere 6500
light years away!
|Viewing Log: Friday 9 Apil 2010 - East Kennett|
We had a great and
mostly clear night last night and were treated to some great views of
the night sky, its galaxies, star clusters and planets.
The Leo Triplet, with M65 at the upper right, M66 at the lower right,
and NGC 3628 at the upper left. (Credit: Scott Anttila) Spotted by Jonathan Gale at around 10.15pm
Before going on
to some deep sky objects, we looked at the Orion nebula which sparkled
and glimmered with its gaseous cloud well lit and its central stars,
diagonal to each other and giving hint to its central core and Orionis,
also known as the Trapezium, the multiple star system, which would have
been easily seen with more power, however, there was much to see and
we stayed on low power whilst looking for more deep sky objects.
|Viewing Log: Saturday 16 October 2010 - East Kennett|
Credits: John Spencer (Lowell Observatory) and NASA
It was a clear night with the Moon and Jupiter very prominent in the skies above, what was also fascinating was that one of our number located the shadow of one of Jupiter's Galilean moons on the surface of Jupiter, similar to the Hubble Space Telescope photo opposite, we don't know whether it was Io (as in the photo) or not but it was most interesting to see. The moon's move around so much it is difficult to tell which one we were looking at. All four moons could be seen, that is Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto (for more information go to Wikipedia). Hilary also observed Uranus, which was near Jupiter.
With such a clear
sky there were many other sights to see, which included Andromeda,a
very good view through Mikes binoculars, the favourite Pleiades open
cluster in Taurus and good and detailed views of our own Moon, with
the terminator assisting with fantastic views of the mountains and craters
at the most southern edge of the moon, particularly clear in Scott's
new Meade LX200 telescope. As the night moved on a frost began to creep
in which is great for clear skies, but we retired to the pub instead
for a welcome nightcap and a good chat.
Log: Friday 3 June 2011 - Alton Hill Car Park - near Alton Priors
- by Dawn Wilson
- Ad Hoc- SPOG
or NGC 6822 - The Ring Nebula
My next target was
the Ring Nebula M57 or NGC6822 in the constellation of Lyra. For those
less technically minded it is below and to the right of Vega midway
between two fainter stars. Hilary and Robin were chasing down fuzzies
in Virgo with some success. For a while we were all looking through
each other's scopes. We also had a view of the Coat hanger asterism
through a finder scope. This collection of stars in the shape of a coat
hanger is too widely spread to view through a scope.
|Viewing at Lacock Friday September 30th 2011 by Dawn Wilson|
Equipment: Skywatcher 150PL 150mm (6") Parabolic Newtonian Reflector with 10mm and 25mm Skywatcher eyepieces
So back to the quest
for M92 and damn but still no luck even after a quick study of the Star
Atlas. Admitting I needed help I asked Andy, which he kindly did and
we had M92 in view another faint fuzzy. A quick hunt for M39 or NGC
7092 and open cluster in the constellation Cygnus, I think successfully.
More people arrived and more discussions on telescopes and mounts and
back to Jupiter for others to view. It was pleasing to see some younger
people out and I apologise to the young man who was very local and knowledgeable
for failing to find the Ring Nebula even with his excellent directions.
I have found it previously and so will add it to my list for future
|Viewing at East Kennet Saturday October 15th 2011 by Dawn Wilson|
150PL 150mm (6") Parabolic Newtonian Reflector with 10mm and 25mm
Next a new target
that someone had found, M15 or NGC7078 in Pegasus. Discovered by Jean-Dominique
Maraldi in 1746. At an estimated 13.2 billion years old, it is one of
the oldest known globular clusters and is 33 600 light years from Earth.
Again it was very faint but visible in the 25mm eyepiece.
M92 or NGC 6341 - globular cluster near Hercules
There were several
people viewing various objects through telescopes that I hadnt
seen out before so I hope they enjoyed their evening. We certainly love
to share observing with anyone interested. All you need to bring is
yourself, warmly dressed, and a red light torch if you need to pick
your way around. Observers take time to gain night sight and white light
is not appreciated, car lights can ruin your night vision for quite
a while, so try to arrive early or dim your car lights when pulling
|Viewing log: Friday 23rd December 2011 at East Kennet by Dawn Wilson|
Hello again my friends.
It has been too long since I have managed to go out observing so I was
delighted to manage to make the best of this opportunity. Normally I
would have gone out with my own telescope but events conspired to make
it a choice between arriving in time or packing the Car with the scope
and other paraphernalia, so I opted to go only with binoculars that
were already available. My hope that others would have been more organised
was well founded. Mike of Swindon Stargazers had emailed this short
notice viewing just the day before and at 6pm I was sure we would be
scuppered as the rain was torrential. The skies cleared however and
his prediction that it would clear proved correct.
The constellation of Orion
I next sought out
the Hyades also known as Melotte 25 or Collinder 50 or Caldwell 41,
an open cluster that is the nearest to our solar system. This object
can be found in Taurus near the red giant Aldebaran.
The constellation of Auriga
|Viewing log: Tuesday 18 September 2012 at Uffcott|
On an exceptionally clear night we arrived at our viewing spot near Uffcott village, a secluded layby with perfect views of the night sky in most directions, organised by our secretary Mike Partridge as the Short Notice Observing Group (SNOG), we found Pete Chappell the first to arrive already set up and ready to view, followed by Robin and Hilary. Mike arrived shortly after.
One of our early targets was the magnificent Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and we all located it quite easily. This iconic galaxy is the first target of many a budding astronomer, and through our telescopes looked like a fuzzy glow in the night sky and almost discernable with the naked eye.
The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years (2.4×1019 km) from Earth in the Andromeda constellation. Also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224, it is often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, but not the closest galaxy overall.
M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy
It gets its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda. The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 other smaller galaxies.
So this was the beginning of a great nights' viewing with temperatures at a balmy 9º and with a clear view of the Milky Way. With Pete's help we went on to the Ring Nebula (M57), M13, the great globular cluster also designated NGC 6205 and sometimes called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, the galaxies M81 and M82 high above Ursa Major and at the end of the evening we were treated to a magnificent view of the The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, M45 in the Messier catalogue. Other targets included the Dumbell Nebula (M27), the double star Albireo in Cygnus and Brocchi's Cluster also known as The Coathanger, a favourite asterism of many a viewer.
|Viewing log: Saturday 29 September 2012 at Uffcott|
|What is amazing about going out stargazing any night is that you never know what you are going to see or find, or not find as is the case sometimes, for example,I was looking for a number of things in Casseopeia such as particular star clusters such as M52 and perhaps even the Bubble Nebula (NGC 76350), but alas, the nearly full Moon washed out everything, so deep sky was well out of the question. It was a good night for some common double stars and Alberio was found once again in Cygnus, a lovely colourful pair of topaz orange and pale blue. We also looked at Mizar and Alcor, a lovely pair in the crook of the handle of Ursa Major. Mike also found M13, the great Hercules globular cluster again following Pete's excursion to this very fine object a few nights before. Mike was using his new SE6 GoTo scope and testing it's accuracy, which proved most successful, especially when we found and viewed Neptune, a very feint blue disc right out there on the edge of the Solar System. So it was great to see this most distant of planets. Perhaps one of the most exciting views of the evening was the rising of Jupiter and it's accompanying moons around 10pm. What was so amazing was the position of it's Galilean moons, instead of being in line and on the same plane as the planet three of the moons were actually bunched up together to one side. Thanks to Hilary for a great view of this wonderful planet. See illustration below for the positioning of the moons.|
Ad-Hoc Viewing Sessions