I mentioned earlier that I was going to buy new binoculars, and I will eventually get around to writing about them. However, in the meantime, I now “have” them, and can use them. So over a few nights, I have gone out to the backyard, setup in 30s, and just looked. I’m not going with a specific goal in mind, nor surfing the sky, just looking.
Unrelated, but I’ve also taken a few pics with my smartphone to see what I can get, and I’m looking forward to experimenting more at the in-laws’ cottage later this summer. Another area to push myself on.
But tonight around 9:00 p.m., I hopped in the car, went down to the river where the horizons are good, and waited to see if I could see the comet again. However, I also had an ulterior or secondary objective in mind. I wanted to see what I would see on the moon with the new binos.
Unfortunately, the clouds were terrible, and I didn’t think I would even find the moon. I had already figured out it was the smallest of slivers, just 2.2% of the surface was lit, the smallest I’ve ever tried for honestly. And BAM! Between my app and the binos, I nailed it. That was super cool. I’ve never seen it that small of a sliver before. There is a small set of astrophotographers who specialize in trying to get the smallest sliver possible. Someone even set a record a few years ago, the smallest possible sliver that can still be seen. I’m not even close to those small numbers, but I saw the 2.2% sliver. Quite cool.
The comet? Not so cool. It is much higher in the sky now, almost three fists up, and almost directly under the middle of the Big Dipper’s basket. Or, in Ottawa prose, EXACTLY where a huge swath of clouds were going by. Another guy and I were there waiting, and I pointed out the moon to him, plus Jupiter and Saturn, but he was only really surprised by the moon and looked for about half a second. He was there for the comet. But it was not to be. It socked in really well and no comet was to be had anytime soon.
I took a few more pics at home, trying to see what I can get with my smartphone on a tripod, and I really need to spend some time setting up a bigger tripod option and to have it figured out before the cottage. I REALLY want to try imaging a bunch of constellations and I need stability to do that.
But overall, I was mostly pushing myself to use the binos to just get out and observe, even without a plan at this point. To engage, to search, to view, to learn.
Today I choose to push myself on my astronomy hobby.
What choices are you making today?