Our August observing event took place on Saturday August 1st under clear skies. This was a pleasant surprise, as the weather forecast had suggested a slight preference for holding the event on our backup date of Friday. After much dithering it was decided to proceed with Saturday as planned, which turned out to be excellent. Friday ironically became very murky, so a good call!
Attendance for the event was respectable with 6 scopes rapidly appearing of different configurations. Our viewing got off to a magnificent start with a huge full Moon gently rising through the trees in the East. No telescopes needed for that one!
Even though it was 9.00pm is was still quite light, so we had to wait just a little longer before stars appeared and allowed us to set up our mounts properly. Having done this, the first target for many became Saturn. Despite its low altitude, the good seeing being afforded to us on Saturday allowed for very clear views. Without much trying, three of Saturn’s moons were visible in addition to the Cassini division in the rings and clouds on the planet itself.
Other targets that came in for inspection during the evening were the Double Cluster, the Ring Nebula M57, the sparkling Hercules Cluster M13, the double stars of Epsilon Lyrae (the ‘Double Double‘) and the colourful doubles of Alberio and Almach. At the end of the evening, Mike tracked down Neptune, which, low on the horizon, had a very uncharacteristic orange hue. Say what you think Mike, I still say it was Mars!
All in all, a successful evening with a number of visitors and some new potential members. The next event is scheduled for September 18/19th. See you then.
Observing and Imaging Group