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Real telescopes!

Last night the sky was clear so, before I left the office, I got out the telescope (the APT) and took it out onto the roof of the main observatory building. Venus was bright in the south-west, just visible above the tree line, while Mars was obvious rising in the east. At the time Mars was still quite low so the seeing was particularly bad and I couldn't pick out much in the way of detail on the surface, but it was still very impressive. Before packing up and rushing off to catch a train home (I wanted an early night as today we had another review at the observatory, this time it was an external review by an astronomer from the US) I had a quick look for a few other things. The sky was quite good and the Milky Way was obvious overhead so I had a look for the Andromeda galaxy (M31) and the double cluster (NGC884/869) in Perseus. The double cluster is one of my favourite targets as there are so many stars in one field of view. Both are open clusters but one is noticably more compact than the other and the central regions of both can be seen in the same field of view with a low magnification eyepiece. I love showing people this object at star parties, it always causes gasps of amazement :-) As I was packing away the eyepieces I glanced up and saw a bright meteor streaking horizontally southwards from Mars, I guess it was probably a Taurid. The clear skies didn't last long though, I got soaked on the short journey from the train station back to my house.

Posted by Megan on Saturday 05th Nov 2005 (17:39 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink

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