It has, IMNSHO, been a rubbish summer. Sunny days have been few and far between and according to the reports this August was the coldest for seventeen years. September isn’t turning out to be anything of an improvement either.
So, given the dearth of cloud-free nights much of my observing has been odd hours snatched here and there between the clouds and I’ve failed to get much decent observing time in at all. I was very much hoping to spend some time learning my way around the Summer constellations, but it seems the major skill required this Summer has been the ability to recognise a constellation from the minimum number of stars possible.
The lack of reliability of the weather forecast has meant that the ST120 on the AZ3 mount has been the tool of choice, being quick to get in and out of the house and not needing too much time to cool down. I’d quite like to have had the 127 Mak out once or twice, but it’s a touch on the heavy side for the AZ3 and the EQ3-2 mount I usually use it on is a lot more work to move about when the weather isn’t playing ball.
Since I last got out in mid-August I’ve had one further night’s observing, during which I managed to view both M56 in Lyra and M71 in Sagitta, both nice targets to find. Unfortunately that’s pretty much been it. There have been teasing glimpses of clear sky (including tonight, though the moon is now very close to full and washing out just about everything), but no good continuous periods of decent observing weather.
I did have a further attempt at view Jupiter, but again it was too low in the sky for clear viewing. There was a small positive note on that occasion though. I’ve seen quite a few streaks across the sky that I’ve attributed to the Perseid meteor shower, but as I was just getting settled with Jupiter in the eyepiece a flash shot across the field of view. I looked up but could see nothing in the sky, so imagined it was just my eyes. As soon as I looked back in the eyepiece there was a second. Again not visible to the naked eye when I moved. I have to assume they were both meteors, but just too faint to see unaided.
In my idle moments (hah! 🙂 I’ve started on a project to build an observatory which should allow me to make the most of short periods of clear skies, but more of that another time.