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Stargazing 2019, outing #18 – Naked-eye and binocular viewing at the cottage

Picture of a telescope, stars, moon, and a log book to represent astronomy

I’m usually a “telescope-only” sky observer. But last Thursday, August 22nd, I was up at the in-laws’ cottage, and after a couple of previous nights of “no go” seeing, the night was still looking iffy. Clouds were rolling in from the West, and it wasn’t obvious if it was even worth setting up the scope. I’ve done the same before at the same location, and almost always, the clouds sock me in.

So I decided not to set up. Instead, I went and borrowed their simple terrestrial binoculars and gave it a go while sitting on the dock. I could see Jupiter and Saturn easily with the naked eye, but I couldn’t resolve the discs with the binoculars. While they are better quality design, they aren’t very strong (7 x 25 perhaps?), and they seem to be out of collimation. Everything I tried to resolve ended up having a skewed shape to it.

No problem, I did some playing around with a planisphere and picked out a few objects. The Big Dipper, Arcturus, Vega, the trapezoid / “Keystone” of Hercules, Antares, and I *think* I saw Altair but I wasn’t 100% sure.

Oddly enough, I was still seeing meteors. And the clouds shifted direction, so I could have set up, even though it was still kind of windy and a bit chilly. Nevertheless, a fun quiet night of just enjoying the whole sky.