Observation Report 23 March 2012

I’ve not written many observation reports recently, mainly because I’ve spent my time concentrating on planetary imaging. I’m still doing that, now starting to turn my attention towards Saturn as well as Mars, but there’s time during the imaging runs to do a bit of visual work as well.

My prime target last night was to find Comet Garradd. I’ve never seen a comet before and not really considered Garradd a likely target until someone mentioned that it was visible using binoculars. So, during one imaging run on Saturn I broke out the 15x70s and hoped the fairly average seeing was good enough. In fact, the comet was very easy to find. Stellarium showed it to be amongst a cluster of stars not far to the west of Dubhe. The cluster was simple to recognise and just to the north was a fuzzy ball that resolved into a larger fuzzy ball given a bit of time. In the 200P it might have been more interesting, but I don’t care. It’s my first comet 🙂

Hercules was creeping around to the east shortly before I decided to call it a night so I also took the opportunity to have a look at M13 for the first time this year. I didn’t have an ideal selection of eyepieces with me so I couldn’t make out much detail, but it never fails to please and I’ll certainly return to it over the next few days (for a change, we’re forecast a string of sunny days and clear nights).

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