Observations Made Over the Weekend

Observing notes from Monday, October 02, 1995 (or day or two before)

Moon: visual eye candy as always. Hundreds of craters. Towering mountains with their peaks casting dark, long, jagged shadows. Craters with the shadows of the rim showing on the crater floor. Canyons, "seas", and ancient lava flows.

Jupiter: a delight as usual. The Galilean moons continue in their dance around the planet. Pretty good detail in the cloud belts considering that it was right after sunset, and Jupiter was pretty low in the sky. The two main equatorial belts showed distinctively and the other belts could be seen as well. The moons Callisto, Europa, and Io were easily picked up. Ganymede was in front of Jupiter and I couldn't find it. I thought I saw moon's shadow on Jupiter's cloud tops, but the "seeing" wasn't good enough for me to be sure.

Saturn: thoroughly impressing view. The rings are razor thin of course. I picked up about four moons. One was right under the rings which was a weird sight. Thin rings are interesting, but you can't appreciate the full glory of Saturn unless the rings are wide open.

M13: great globular cluster of stars in Hercules that is one of the best the northern hemisphere has to offer. Many, many pinpoints of starlight. The sight was enough to activate the taste buds!!! I felt like I could just reach out and grab a handful of stars. Visible in binoculars as well.

M27: planetary nebula known as the Dumbbell nebula, in Vulpecula (just below Cygnus). This was the first time I've found this nebula. I could definitely see the dumbbell shape. I was amazed at how big it was and how easy it was to find it. I could also see it with binoculars.

M57: planetary nebula ring in Lyra. Looks like a little, ghostly smoke ring, floating among the stars.

NGC869 and NGC884: the famous "Double Cluster" of stars in Perseus. One of the "classic" examples of galactic clusters. One of my favorite "targets". Had to use low power to get both clusters in the view...and my eyepiece was filled with stars!!! Great cluster for binoculars.

M31: Andromeda galaxy. This beautiful spiral galaxy always makes me long for intergalactic starship travel. I could also easily detect the galaxy with my naked eye, and as always, with binoculars.

M110: companion galaxy to M31 I could fit both of them in my low power view.

Albireo: one of the most beautiful double stars in the sky, located in Cygnus. The contrasting colors of gold and blue always amaze me.

M15: globular cluster of stars in Pegasus. Easily found and similar to M13, but not as bright

Jeff Polston

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