Observing Log for

Session Details

Observatory Field, Durham

54.7679, -1.58724



After the disaster that was last week we finally suceeded in holding our first proper obs night of 2005. Clear skies and above freezing temperatures accompanied us as we took the '114' down to the Field. The seeing appeared to be poor with Saturn ocassionally swimming and the lights of Durham marring the northern vista.





Very small, sharp object at x50. Upping the magnification to x200 using a Barlowed 10mm gave a much bigger picture which Julie got into excellent focus. The Cassini Division was not obviously visible though viewing times were very short, but Titan stood out as a bright point of light to the South East of the planet.


Two members visible through the shaking of the tripod - unable to keep it in the FOV long enough to observe in any detail

NGC 884 & NGC 869 - The Double Cluster in Perseus

This was an easy find in the binoculars and was just on the edge of averted vision. In the 'scope at x50 it was a mafnificent site - the two clusters standing out against the sweeping tide of the Milky Way behind it. There were many stars visible in and around both clusters.

Gamma Andromedae

A beautiful double with excellent colour contrast between the bright gold-yellow A star and the much fainter turqoise blue B star - definite split at 200x though the difference in brightness makes this difficult even with a steady mount!

M42 - The Great Orion Nebula

As spectacular as ever - good definition on the fringes - at x200 three stars of the trapezium were visible but the mount made it difficult to keep it in the FOV for any length of time

M44 - The Beehive Cluster

A large open cluster of stars in Cancer which easily filled the FOV at x50. The bright stars appeared mainly blue-white and arranged in a series of right-angled triangles

Comet Machholz

Comet Machholz was visible in the binoculars above the Double Cluster. On examination of Carte De Ciel it actually lies in between two other open clusters - Collinder 33 and IC 1848 - however due to the 'scope mount not being correctly set-up it was difficult to find and eventually the cold dictated we move onto better things