My Observing Log: January/February 2005

2:00 a.m. 12 January 2005 PST (2005–01–12–1000 UT)

Just a short observing session tonight; my younger son decided to wake up at 11:30, just as I as about to start observing, and I had to help him get back to sleep before I could go out. That took a couple of hours (some of which I spent sleeping myself, figuring—birds of a feather…). The late hour couldn't possibly discourage me; it had been the better part of three weeks since a usable clear night.

I warmed up (and it was fairly chilly out) with M67, a fine rich cluster in Cancer, south of M44 and often overshadowed by it—unfairly in my opinion, for M67 in a telescope has more to recommend it than does M44. I noticed this time that the stars appear to be arranged in two separate lobes, looking almost like a yolk in its egg white, with the yolk toward the southwest, and the egg white surrounding it but lopsided mostly toward the east-northeast.

Next up was a new cluster (new for me, anyway), NGC 2395, an hour or so of RA west of M67. On star atlases, it looks unimpressive, but it's a modestly interesting sight in the eyepiece. It is not very rich, and has no really bright stars, but it has an interesting vertical shape that is formed by an array of 12th-magnitude stars. I saw perhaps 20 or so stars lying just at the edge of visibility.

Last for me was the M65/M66 duo; NGC 3628 is simply too dim for my magnitude 4.6 skies. Even M65 was barely visible; I found the core of M66 easier to see than M65, although the elongation of M66 seemed wrong, based on its appearance in PleiadAtlas. Perhaps the core has a different elongation from the disc.

Copyright (c) 2005 Brian Tung