Observation Report 13/3/2011

This week is apparently the best week this year for observing Mercury. It’s never going to be that high above the horizon once the sun sets, but now is about as good as it gets. I’ve never seen Mercury before, so didn’t know what to expect when I went out at around 6:45pm, but sure enough just to the right of Jupiter there was another “star”, not quite as bright as Jupiter, which had a clearly defined disc when viewed through binoculars. If the skies stay clear this week I’ll try to get another look at it with the Mak.

The moon being around half full it’s fairly bright now and whilst the sky was clear the transparency was poor, but I did also manage to find one more Messier object in Virgo, M49, (my fiftieth) with the ST102. Despite being 8.4 magnitude it was very difficult to pick out. I gave up trying to find M61 and M104. Darker skies are required, I think.

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