Observing Report -- February 13, 2013

(Yep, that's more than a month since the last time...)

Tonight was a rare clear night. Just before putting the kids to bed, I stepped outside to see if it was clear -- and saw the ISS heading over! Talk about good timing...I ran back inside and got my youngest son to come out so we could wave at @Cmdr_Hadfield. Sadly, doesn't seem like he saw us.

I was expecting the clouds to roll in, but they didn't. I was dithering about whether to go out, and my wife said "Why don't you just go? It'll make you happy." Now that's a) good advice and b) a wonderful partner. I'm lucky.

So out, scope not even cooled, and did I care? Did I bollocks. It was wonderful to be out, and the clouds really did hold off a long time.

M81 and M82 -- Holy crap, I found them again. It's been a while since I saw them, and it was wonderfully encouraging to know I could track them down.

Moon -- quick look, as it was setting and being covered by clouds. Fun fact: while walking home from work, I was surprised at how small the moon was. Then I remembered that's just its regular size, and it's been a while since I saw it.

Polaris -- the engagement ring. Pretty. Fits into a 40mm eyepiece view ('bout a degree FOV).

M34 -- First time, which means I've got one more Messier bagged. What a pretty cluster! Took the time to sketch it. Looks like a triskelion to me. (UPDATE: Whoops, actually found it last September. Dangit.)

M42 -- Beautiful, beautiful. I've been looking at sketches of it recently, and that helped me notice more detail, like the fish-mouth shape and the bat wings. But I think I was not looking in the right place for M43. Next time. (BTW, this is just a lovely sketch.) I think I saw the E star, which is nice.

Brief attempt to find M1, but by that time the clouds were rolling in. What a lovely, satisfying night.