Friday, 21 February 2014

Observing Session Summary - Saturday 15th February 2014

Butser Ancient Farm was open Saturday. Invited my brother along for his first free session. Was very glad he came. The full Moon was out so didn't expect to get all the targets I had planned earlier that day. However, we had a good go.

I used 'Philip's Stargazing with Binocular's' and February's Sky At Night magazine binocular's tour to plan the session. Here I provide the list of targets and a summary of the observations.

Kembles Cascade: Had another go given I couldn't find it in January. I successfully starhopped to the right location but I believe the Moon made it difficult to pick out the cascade of stars.

M36, M37 and M38: These are all in a similar location in the Auriga constellation. I was tough to find them. They were very faint but pretty sure I got them.
M41 & M44: I hadn't realised but these were in the same part of the sky as the full Moon (in the East) so had no luck.

M81 & M82: Was very keen to see these since the supernova in M82 was peeking and a good target for binocular's. However, unfortunately, the Moon was also the reason I could not do the star hop to find them.

Here is a link to my session log:

I have also been working on a list of the tasks to plan and log a session. Once I have this complete I will post the basics here.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Stargazing in Tenerife

Arrived in Tenerife Tuesday Evening (February 4th) with my sister. Through a little research and word of mouth I found out that Tenerife is an excellent location for astronomy. So I packed my binoculars with the hope of doing some observing.

On Wednesday (our first day here) we found that an organised stargazing excursion called ´Teides by Night´ was available that very evening so we booked up immediately.

Among many other interesting facts learnt on the 1 hour coach journey to the observing site we learnt that mount Tiedes is ideal for astronomy due to it´s dry atmosphere and elevation. There's even a professional observatory on the mountian. Apparently there are only a few locations in the world with better conditions for observing than Tiedes.

We were 2,000 metres above sea level. This was higher than the cloud cover around Tenerife so we had no risk of weather impeding our view. We had to wrap up warm since the temperature this high was around 10 degrees celcius lower than at sea level. However, the chill was little distraction from the view of the heavens we had. Even with the Moon partially lit and before our eyes adapted to the dark, the skies were incredible. I haven´t seen that many stars with the naked eye before. I could see the Andromeda galaxy with the unaided eye and had some great views of the Orion Nebula through the binoculars.

The tour guide was also excellent and very knowledgable. He even provided us his personal email address in case we had any questions later. It´s great to have a potential contact on the island that could help me progress my new found passion for astronomy.