Observing Log for

Session Details


54.767, -1.574



A mainly clear evening with some light cloud passing through on a strong breeze. Carried out along with members of the Durham University Astronomical Society


Crescent Moon and Venus

The previous evening I had failed to get Mercury, but tonight, on an official AstroSoc observing night during the exam period it seemed a very much more promising situation. We headed up to the Field, arriving in time to see the thin crescent moon and brilliant Venus appear out of the darkening twilight. They were already a magnificent sight only a few degrees apart.

The Pair


With a pair of binoculars and a good idea of where to look it was soon possible, even in the bright evening light, to make out the much dimmer point of light that was the planet Mercury, much lower down and very close to the trees. Cameras were pointed in the direction and an image of the closest planet to the sun was obtained.

Mercury Descending


We spent the next couple of hours or so watching the spectacular as the sky got darker and the pair shined ever brighter. Occasionally clouds crept through but they only increased the drama and beauty of what we were seeing.

Clouds Arriving

Later on Saturn too joined the party, and along with the Moon and Venus, this too was observed with the society's Nexstar 5 telescope. With chilly, clustery conditions the seeing conditions weren't great but Titan was visibile and the rings were, as always, a beautiful sight.


After spending some time looking in the area around Antares (and mistaking Jupiter for Antares) we trained the scope on the giant redy-colour point of light that had now risen in the east to bag our 4th planet of the evening. Again poor seeing conditions meant not much was discernible on Jupiter itself, but all four Galilean moons were on display. I wrapped up the evening with a final shot of the earthlit moon.

The Earthlit Moon