After the snow and cold of last week, conditions for observing on March 7th were near perfect. A mild still evening with the Moon not rising until after midnight. There was practically zero cloud cover and the atmosphere was very steady.
In addition to the main observatory 16″ we used a motor driven 18″ dobsonian, a 10″ dobsonian and BAS member Kevin Quigg brought along his own refractor which gave some excellent wide field views.
A tour of open star clusters including M35, M41, M37, M51, M44, M45, NGC7789. (Caroline’s Rose), NGC 457 (Owl cluster), NGC869 & 884. (Double cluster) were all outstanding.
The Orion Nebula (M42) was observed through all the instruments and was a stunning sight being almost at its highest point in the South at the start of the evening. Observing the trapezium at around 200x through the observatory 16″ provided one of the best views we have ever seen of this central region.
The Eskimo Nebula NGC2392, a planetary Nebula in Gemini, was also stunning in both the wide field of the 18″ and at higher power through the 16″.
Other objects observed were the galaxy pair of M81 & 82 and Herschel’s Garnet star in Cepheus.
The only disappointing feature of the evening was the low turnout of BAS members. In addition to Phil, Yvette and myself only 5 BAS members and 4 Guests attended what was probably the best observing night of the 2017-18 season to date.
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