FEB 2021 STAR PARTY OBSERVATION LOG
Venue: GoGoCamping, Kavalur. 15.2972° N, 75.9347° E Date: The night of 13 Feb 2021
6:30PM: 1 day old crescent Moon: We started the observation admiring the 1 day old moon with Earth Shine lighting up its dark side.
7:30PM Andromeda Galaxy: First target was the Andromeda Galaxy. Had a hard time in making out the Pegasus's great square and the two horns next to which sits the galaxy. With some random scanning along the two stars in Cassiopeia helped spot the galaxy. It appeared as a fuzzy patch of light.
7:52PM Double cluster (NGC 869 and 884): These were two open clusters side by side and looked spectacular (like city lights seen from an aircraft). It was located east of Cassiopeia's leg and north of the head of Perseus.
8:15PM Pleaides cluster: Easily seen by naked eye, but looked more beautiful from Kavalur, appeared like a bunch of bright blue LED lights
8:30PM Orion Nebula: Breathtaking! The gas and dust of the foreground were resolved in much greater detail than what we could see from Bangalore. It stretched across the field of view like the outstretched wings of a giant bird. Four stars in the trapezium (Orionis A, B, C and D) were easily resolved.
10PM Mars: The red planet was way too small compared to its opposition last year. No details could be resolved
10:35PM Beehive Cluster: Another open cluster, though not as spectacular as 3 and 4 above.
10:50PM Binary Stars in the Big Dipper (Alcor and Mizar): This is the second last star in the handle of the Big Dipper. As the Big Dipper rose above the horizon, this could be located with some random scanning around the area easily. The stars appeared very close to each other
11:00PM Sirius: I had never looked at Sirius through my telescope before. What a sight it was! It shined like a diamond (see the picture following it). It is said that Sirius is so bright, it can cast shadows on the ground. The brightness filled the entire eyepiece. A true jewel in the sky!
Early morning at 5AM
Sky became increasingly hazy after midnight making the observation difficult. Could not do much at dawn either due to fog along the horizon. Star chart navigation credits: Anirudh Kamath Observation log credits: Swathi Kamath