Tag Archives: orion

My old friend returns

Today is the first day of school for my youngest daughter. So, contrary to other times, I was up. As I went outside to let the dog out, I noticed that Orion was up. Orion is quite possibly my favorite constellation, as it has so many things in it to look at.

I quickly went inside and retrieved my 10 x 50 binoculars and was able to see the Orion Nebula (M42) to some extent. The dawn was already breaking, so it was not very clear because it was fighting sunlight and morning clouds.

However, it’s good to see my old friend again. I can’t wait until I can see it in darkness again.

Transparency was 1, seeing was 8.

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A UFO?

Last night I was out just observing in general with my 10×50 binoculars.  I was trying out my red dot finder and found it to be extremely helpful.  I looked at Jupiter, Orion, the Pleiades, Perseus, Andromeda, and Cassiopeia.  Just for the fun of it, no official recording of observations.  The sky was not too great in terms of transparency, about a 2-3 on the following scale.  I live in a “white zone”, i.e. a place heavily impacted by light pollution.  Having a street light on my property doesn’t help, either.

1 :: Mostly Cloudy

2-3 :: Hazy; 1 or 2 Little Dipper stars visible

4 :: 3-4 Little Dipper stars; Milky Way not visible

5 :: 4 Little Dipper stars; Bright parts of Milky Way visible (Scutum starcloud)

6 :: 5 Little Dipper stars; Milky Way visible with averted vision

7 :: 6 Little Dipper stars; Milky Way visible

8-9 :: Excellent: 7 Little Dipper stars; M-31 (Andromeda Galaxy) visible

10 :: Superb: M-33 (Triangulum Galaxy) and/or M-81 (Bode’s Galaxy) visible

While looking at Andromeda and Cassiopeia, I saw a rapidly moving gray object that did not have blinking lights moving from S through NW in Andromeda through the lower part of Cassiopeia around 9:18 or 9:19p.  I had never seen one of these before.  It was most likely a satellite.

With a little help from people in the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers group, I was able to access a database of satellite passes at Heavens-Above.com, but didn’t see my newfound friend.

Interesting.  There were other satellites in the general area, but none that were flying from S through NW around lower Cassiopeia at that time.  Maybe it was one of those satellites that aren’t on the official register, or perhaps an NSA satellite keeping an eye on us or the little green men were involved.

Probably just proof of just another space related conspiracy theory.

I’ll be wearing my tinfoil hat to work today.

14-1-20 12am Observation (Orion) [Obs #1]

This is my first official observation for the purpose of working on observation programs for the Astronomical League.  At this point, I’m working on the Binocular Messier Program, the Constellation Hunter Program, and the Universe Sampler Program.  It won’t be as hard as people think, as there is a bit of overlap in these programs.

First up, the constellation Orion, part of the Universe Sampler Program and the Constellation Hunter program.

Scan sheets, Wikipedia, Photos.

Observation Sheet for the Orion Constellation
Observation Sheet for the Orion Constellation

Above is a scan of the sheet I used for the observation of the constellation Orion.  It is inverted in order to better bring out the sketches.

Orion is one of the biggest constellations that just stands out, particularly in the winter sky.  The other big constellation in the sky is the Big Dipper.  Both are used as orientation guides when looking at the night sky and getting bearings.

Following are two links for Wikipedia articles about Orion:  Orion (the constellation) and the Great Orion Nebula, which is located in the set of stars directly below Orion’s belt on the left side of the belt.  These include plenty of information about this famous constellation.

Finally, here are some Orion-related photos from this observation.  Click on them to see them more fully.

Orion the Hunter
Orion the Hunter.
A color photo of the constellation of Orion.   It is also documented proof of my daughter staying up waaaaay past her bedtime.   The area I live in has a significant amount of light pollution, which was present tonight.
A color photo of the constellation of Orion.
It is also documented proof of my daughter staying up waaaaay past her bedtime.
The area I live in has a significant amount of light pollution, which was present tonight.
B&W photo of the constellation of Orion.
B&W photo of the constellation of Orion.
The Great Orion Nebula.  Although taken from a tripod, I made the mistake of using a zoom lens at the full extension, so there is some trailing.  The fuzziness around the brighter stars is the nebulous part.
The Great Orion Nebula. Although taken from a tripod, I made the mistake of using a zoom lens at the full extension, so there is some trailing. The fuzziness around the brighter stars is the nebulous part.