January Stargazing

With the weather finally somewhat settled we’ve had a few truly amazingly clear nights. Venus has been hanging over the SW horizon after sunset and Jupiter is the brightest object due South. The nearest street lights visible from our back garden are on Lismore over 3Km away and apart from the glow of Glensanda on the other side of the Firth of Lorn there is no night light pollution here at all.

Stepping out of the back door the Milky Way is instantly visible; at this time stretching from Cygnus setting in the north west, through Perseus overhead and down through Gemini and Canis Major.

Through binoculars dozens of open star clusters are visible and I enjoyed skipping from one to another. Two objects normally difficult to spot from light polluted skies were easily found : The remnants of an exploding star (M1 : the crab nebula) and a ‘local’ galaxy in the constellation of Triangulum (M33).

It was too much to resist and so the camera came out…


8 min Exposure at F3.5 . 27mm focal length. The plough is visible on the right with ‘the pointers’ guiding the way to the stationary pole star top centre left. The star trails are caused by the earths rotation over the 8 minute exposure time.

Hopefully the weather will stay settled for my first paddle of 2012 that I have planned for this coming weekend…


About Andy Harpur

Interests : The Scottish Highlands, The Pennine Alps, The Milky Way, Abbot Ale, Mountaineering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking, Astronomy, Guitar, Penny Whistle. I live and breath for the outdoor lifestyle. New places, new faces, new adventures....
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