Our latest stargazing trip

We had lovely conditions on Monday evening with guests Benjamin and Bridget,  a very mild 16c with barely a breath of wind. After a beautiful sunset we watched the stars come out and spotted Mars glowing orange to the south west. There were many satellites whizzing overhead and some flashing space junk too. After looking at the Moon through binoculars we turned our attention to the two largest globular clusters the sky has to offer. First we looked at M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules. The largest of the northern hemisphere clusters, on a less moonlit night you can make this out with the naked eye. Through the binoculars it’s an indistinct smudge of light but through the telescope it’s possible to resolve some of the outer stars and really see that it’s a ball of stars in space. Then we looked at Omega Centauri, the largest globular of them all and despite being a southern hemisphere object, something that is visible from Tenerife at this time of year. In fact, it’s so large that even with a 66% Moon, I could make it out with the naked eye. Omega Centauri contains as many as 10 million stars and through the telescope looks like a huge football of stars. One not to be missed. We then turned the telescope to the Moon and spent time looking at mountains casting shadows over the surface and into craters. We also looked at the general area where Apollo 11 landed 50 years ago this July. Benjamin and Bridget took a great picture of the Moon through the telescope with just a smartphone which is shown here. As Scorpio climbed in the east, Jupiter finally came into view. Through the binoculars we could make out three of the Galilean Moons but in the telescope we could make out all four, plus the horizontal cloud bands and also the Great Red Spot, a great end to a great night.

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