Observing report -- January 20, 2014

Another clear night -- and less than a week after the last one too! Nothing for it but to set up on the front porch again and show the kids some stuff. I picked Ranger, the Dob, again; I wasn't sure how long the clear skies would last, and it's quicker to set up than Neptune.

So after soccer practice and supper, it was time to show the kids the Orion Nebula for the first time. Eli wasn't really able to pick it out, though he did see the Trapezium; Arlo picked it up, but said it was faint. And fair enough; the 40mm made it small, and the 12mm spread it out a lot. But it was fun to see, and they seemed to enjoy the thought of what they were seeing.

After they were in bed, I went back out to see what I could see. Started with M42 again, of course. The O3 filter really brought out the clouds, but the only hint of M43 I could see came without it -- and I'm still not sure I actually saw it.

Searched for M78 -- not sure I found it. Took a quick sketch to compare w/the hive mind, but I'm still not sure.

M35 -- the last few times I've looked for this have been full of frustration. Not tonight, though -- the stars aligned (ha!) and I was able to track it down w/o problems. I love that sad-face arc of stars inside it. Tried looking for NGC 2158, but pretty sure I was skunked.

M36, M37 and M38 -- If M35 has been frustrating the last few times, these clusters have been frustrating since day one. Not tonight, though -- got the hat trick! Not only that, I was able to find NGC 1907 by M38. The seeing was really good tonight, and I was able to take a quick sketch of it through a Barlowed 12mm -- unusual for me. (Compared it to the barlowed 10mm Meade that came w/Neptune, and I love the 12mm. That 10mm is going up for sale.) Favourite was

M37, though...what a gorgeous sight.

Finally over to Jupiter, which stood up well to the barlowed 12mm. Not perfect, but damn good. Got my first good look at the GRS, and yeah, it really is redder this year -- very obvious even a couple hours past the meridian. Swear I saw Ganymede as a small disk, not just a dot...bigger than our moon, so I guess it's a possibility.

All in all, a very fun and enjoyable night.