Friday, January 08, 2010

Comments, Links

Just a quick note. Tonight I'm holding an Open Observatory night, 8pm-10pm. It's (near) FREEZING, but it's the first Open Observatory advertised to faculty through e-mail, and students by poster, so I'm expecting a turnout nonetheless. Actually it's open to anybody, so if you see this post on time you are welcome to drop by: Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, 19 Qingtong Rd (near Guanglan Rd). That's Pudong of course. If you need more specific directions, text me (number is on my Facebook); my phone is wonky and calling doesn't work. Dress warmly please.

The menu for tonight is the following:

  • M42/M43 (Orion's Sword)
  • M45 (Pleiades)
  • Mars
  • M44 (open cluster)
  • Sirius
  • M41 (open cluster)
  • M79 (globular cluster)
  • M37 (open cluster)
  • M35 (open cluster)

Orion's Sword is a must; saw it at Uncle Steve's observatory a couple weeks ago and it is as impressive as advertised. I doubt we will get as good an image but I'll try. The Pleiades is a favorite of mine; it's visible in city-lights with the naked-eye, and it's not something you notice because it's not huge or bright, but once it's pointed out to you it's easily recognizable. Next is Mars, which is very close to Earth these days and showing a lot of detail. It will be my first time observing it through this telescope. M44 is a brightish open cluster close to Mars in the sky. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky these days, it also has a pair of blue and orange stars right next to it that might be fun to compare and contrast. M431 is an open cluster close to Sirius. M79 is a bright and concentrated globular cluster. And M37 and M35 are rather ordinary open clusters that we can target if we have leftover time and are not frozen stiff.

To design the list of targets I mined three sources: my own memory (it is getting better!), a post on the Riverdale Astronomy weblog, and Tom Flanders' guide to the Messier objects in Early Winter and Late Winter.

See you at 8pm.

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