Observing Log for

Session Details


54.3299, -1.44529



Conditions: Cold, windy, UrMi NELM: 5, No Moon


Darting around the sky

We seem to be in the middle of gale season (or 'January' as we call it around here). A bit of wind wasn't going to stop me getting out with the 'scope - not with a relatively clear sky at least. Of course, once I had the scope out the clouds increased tenfold and I ended up darting around the sky going for familiar stuff (42, Double Cluster, Pleiades, Saturn etc) as it appeared.

I did get bag one new Messier, 41 in Canis Major (the larger of the two canine companions of Orion) and attempted to find another M76 but failed due to unfamiliarity with the area between Andromeda and Cassiopea. I believe I also observed M103 but will need to confirm this before I add it to my 'found Messier table'.

Towards midnight the clouds started to build significantly. I decided to call it a night and this proved to be very prudent as the rain started to fall just as I got the 'scope tube inside. Within minutes it was pouring down - thankfully all the equipment was safe and warm inside.

M41 - Open Cluster in Canis Major

Sadly, Sirius and the rest of Canis Major is currently sitting close to the street light in my cul-de-sac. Although the cluster was easy to find, the view was disappointing compared to other OC's, particularly those in Auriga and the Double. At x40 I could see approximately 20 or so stars with a large, bright red star in the center. The sky was very washed out and it was obvious as I looked longer that there were many more stars too faint to stand out against the orangey sky. Increasing the power with the barlow up to x80 improved the view. The centre of the cluster (with the red star) filled the view giving a much more pleasing image. There were more stars visible at this power.