Well, Astro2 had it’s first observing session of the year and despite the weather being far from ideal we did actually manage to see some stuff and we also had a good turnout of about 20 people who braved the cold on the physics roof!

When we first went onto the roof observing conditions were far far from ideal, about 30% – 40% cloud cover and the areas that were ‘clear’ were still quite hazy. Thankfully the longer we stayed up there the clearer it got.

We only had use of our own ETX90 and our binoculars because the college’s LX200 was out of order. This made things a little more difficult because it meant we had no automatic tracking and no finder scope (don’t ask) so I stuck to a 32mm eye piece to keep the magnification low and only went for objects that were big, bright and easy to find.

We got a good look at the globular cluster M13, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the double cluster in Perseus. I was hoping to track down the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) and the Ring Nebula (M57) but without a finder scope tracking down something in the midst of the Milkyway is just not gonna work so when my fingers got numb I gave up!

We also spotted some satellites and an Iridium Flare and we did some introductory stuff with our new members pointing out some of the constellations. Although it was far from an ideal night I still think a good time was had by those who showed up.

One thing that did infuriate me a bit was that Mars didn’t come up high enough to be seen from the roof till I was on my way home and spotted it in all it’s red glory taunting me from low in the sky next to the Hume building!