Observing Log for

Session Details


57.1208, -2.09038



Around 5C with only a very light breeze. Bright, waxing Moon just after first quarter.


M42 - The Great Orion Nebula

My first target, with Orion now sitting above the trees to the south of my observing location, was 42, the Great Orion Nebula. Through the 32mm the view took in the Nebula itself as well as other stars in the sword of Orion. The nebula was a soft smudge of green light, brighter on one side than the other with faint tendrils connecting it to 43. Placing the barlowed 25mm in the nebula jumped forwards to almost fill the field of view. It was a stunning sight. As my eyes gradually accustomed to the light I could see more and more of the vast swathes of dust and cloud that compromise this feature. There was a lot of depth and detail in the fine tendrils, particularly those that extend out to the west of the main nebula.

M43 - Reflection and Emission Nebula in Orion

43 is simply an extension of the Great Orion Nebula, focused around the bright star NU Orionis. In both the 32mm and the barlowed 25mm it was clearly visible, though in the 32mm averted vision helped define it more clearly. Centred around the star it looks like a large, slightly mis-shapen comma or halo of gas. Less bright than the rest of the Orion Nebula it was nevertheless distinct against the moonlit background.

NGC 1981 - Open Cluster in Orion

1981 is a sparse collection of bright stars above the Great Orion Nebula. Located just a short distance away from the above targets, I panned up the length of the sword to briefly look at this open cluster which often gets ignored with the other wonders close-by. The main sight in the 32mm was the scattered brighter stars, of which 8 could clearly be identified. The view in the 25mm was less pleasing with the cluster being too expansive to fit in the FOV. This is one to return to on a darker night as the moonlit background took away any perception of depth - the stars appearing painted on an indigo sheet rather than sitting in the fastness of space.

NGC 1647 - Open Cluster in Taurus

In the moonlight, 1647, a somewhat bright open cluster (mag 6.4) was dimmed to a central cascade of bright stars with a tight pair of stars close to the middle. Around it were dispersed other, fainter stars that make up this loose collection.

M45 - Pleides Open Cluster

The Pleiades (45) are always a rewarding view, fitting perfectly into the FOV of the 32mm eyepiece. The moon, very close by, washed out anything other than the bright main stars.

The Moon

The Moon, as mentioned several times above was very bright, hanging high above in the western sky. With Full Moon just a few nights away the terminator is now cutting across some of the more westerly features, including L14 Sinus Iridum (the Bay of Rainbows), a large impact crater which has subsequently lost part of its rim - this gives it the look of a sweeping chain of mountains, particularly as they catch the low light close to the terminator.

M35 - Open Cluster in Gemini

Before packing up I had a brief look at this compact and bright open cluster of stars which is always a great target for a small telescope. Even under the bright skies it gave a pleasing view in the 32mm, closely packed stars disappearing out of sight as they got dimmer towards the edge.