It was a lovely clear night last night and I spent a couple of hours with the binoculars hunting down some of the many globular clusters on show. Globular clusters are round balls of stars numbering in the hundreds of thousands to 10 millions and there are lots of them to see. In binoculars, they look like ghostly snow balls and it takes a telescope to resolve the detail and colours of the densely packed stars but in good binoculars they are impressive all the same. They are all different, some are brighter than others like The Great Cluster in Hercules (M13) or larger such as the spectacular Omega Centauri, the largest glob in the Milky Way which can’t be observed from the UK. Likewise down below it the bright star Gacrux, the head of the constellation the Southern Cross was just appearing over the southern horizon. Gacrux is the closest giant red star to us at around 88 light years. Two excellent observations. Mighty Jupiter was up and shining brightly, its four Galilean moons like a string of shining pearls. Everywhere I looked there was something interesting to study and the time flew by. Sometimes I am so busy working with my cameras and telescopes that I forget to just look up. Last night reminded me to do it more often.
Omega Centauri credit: ESO.