Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Summer Night in the Silvermine Bay

I rarely got any chance to go out to observe in the summer, it is because it is always cloudy. There's a special holiday for my wife and me, so we decided to have a short trip. We arrive in the afternoon, and my wife learned how to swim that day. Still need some more practice, however. After the dinner, we went on the beach in front of the hotel to watch the stars.

This was the first time I tried to pack everything (telescope, tripod, eyepieces, barlows, filters, star atlas) into my backpack. It was rather heavy but still managable. Of course, I still want a lighter setup. Anyway, it's an elegant solution already. I made my observation list in the afternoon based mostly on Turn Left on Orion.

Our observing site was bright. I could read the charts without flashlight (but not read the words) and there was a thin layer of cloud above. Not very good, but it was already a great time for me. My observing list included M4, M51, M81, M82, M13, the Double-double, the Ring Nebula, the Albireo and the M27 Dumbbell Nebula.

I tried to make the list shorter, since I knew that I was still learning. The targets should not be too difficult.

Finally, I got only Albireo or to say more accurately, it's my wife who got it. But that was nice enough, we were amazed when looking at this orange-blue (gold-blue) pair!!!

"I need a larger scope", I thought. But I remembered that my equipments were already quite heavy, I told myself, "I need a darker sky!"

Today is 5-July, when I read the s.a.a newsgroup, I confirmed that my wife and I had actually detected M4, the globular cluster near Antares of Scorpius. Originally, I thought it was fogging of the eyepiece, but later I knew it was there, since it moved with the stars as double confirmed with my wife. After reading from the newsgroup (another guy in Singapore is asking the same question, but he's using a 6"), the description is exactly the same. Good!

30 June 2000 By So King Yan Oldfield

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