Observation Report 7/3/2011

It’s the 7th March. I received my first telescope — the ST80, for Christmas 2010. And tonight is the first really pin-sharp night sky we’ve had. I still haven’t sorted out the mount for the 127 Mak, so the ST102 is out again.

I’d planned to spend some time looking at multiple stars tonight following some of the suggestions in Turn Left At Orion, but had to have one more go at M106 first. This time I star-hopped over from Chara and within a couple of minutes there it was in the eyepiece. Don’t understand how I’d failed to find it previously. In fact, I recognised the stars around it as being ones I’d spent ages staring at on previous nights whilst completely failing to see the galaxy itself!

My first multiple star target was Castor which I found split very nicely giving two sharp star images with a diffraction ring around them. I think I also found the third star, but wasn’t able to match the positions of the stars I could see with Stellarium so need to visit this one again.

Next on the list were ι-Cancri and Struve 1266. ι-Cancri I found fairly easily and could split, but I’m unconvinced that I found Struve 1266 and will have to try that again another time. After these two I moved on to Cor Caroli and γ-Leonis without any problems.

Despite being still fairly early it was unusually cold and I decided I’d have a brief view of Saturn before calling it a night. I’m so glad I did. Even at 125x magnification with my 4mm eyepiece the image of Saturn was very sharp and I could make out three moons that I believe to be Titan, Rhea and Hyperion. Enceladus was in front of the planet at the time according to Stellarium, with Mimas and Tethys on the opposite side close to the rings. Dione should have been visible, but I didn’t see it. Very pleased to have had such a good view of the planet though. I look forward to getting the Mak into service soon.

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