Monday, January 31, 2005

1999-12-31 to 2000-1-1, 20:00-23:30, 5:00 (At Chek-king, with 10x50)

This trip is originally for the first sun raise of 2000, and it ended up very successful for that target.

This is probably the most fruitful stargazing up to this moment. Among the past sessions, I spent not too many time to explore the night sky when compared to this session. The weather was dewly and the planisphere got soaked very soon. Luckily, the binos served us very well.

Surprisingly, the binos gave me a better chance to look at the night sky. When the sun-set, we first see the bright Jupiter and Saturn. Of course, we could see nothing than the bright satellites and a small disc with the binos. Nothing special for Saturn as well.

As the night moved on, we first looked at the Pleaides and the Orion Nebula. Very good, but they're sort of our old friends. But still, they were impressive. We had a list of new targets tonight.

First, we tried to locate the Polaris. Strange enough, I still couldn't identify this supposed to be easy target after these few years. Maybe it's because I didn't get an EQ mount for my scope, except a very cheap one which had been sold long ago. We soon located the Polaris with the help of the planisphere, and in order to confirm it, we mark its location to see if it moved or not throughout several hours.

We then moved on to look for the Andromeda galaxy. I couldn't locate this one in the last trip which I considered to be a complete failure. I had studied the star atlas for many time to find our way. One of my friends located it first before me. I confirmed from his description that he had found it. Of course, with a hand-held binos, I couldn't share his view. Okay, I tried his method to locate it, and I found it soon. Maybe it's the first time, I found it to be more impressive than the higher praised Orion Nebula!!! We repeated to find it several time and the method my friend proposed was proved to be a nice guide. We extend from the Cassieopia and moved to the direction to a corner star of the Andromeda and somewhere in between, there was a star upper than that straight line, and below that star, we could detect the galaxy.

As the night moved on, we tried to locate the Beehive and it's very nice as well. Other than these new DSOs, we tried to locate some not-had-been identified constellations. It's real nice!

We stopped a while and then we started our trip to the sun raise site. We didn't bring a binos with us, but there're a whole new set of constellations that we could see. And better yet, we proved that Polaris we found was indeed Polaris, since it stayed in its own position after many hours. The bright Venus could be found, but no luck for the Mercury, since there's a bit cloud due east. Not bad, it's a real enjoyable trip.

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