Image downloaded from the internet.
It was a beautiful evening--a bit breezy for ideal viewing but warm and reasonably clear. I set up my 4” refractor long before it was dark enough to even see Venus. Shortly after sunset, Venus poked through the twilight and I was able to show the tiny crescent to onlookers who were starting to assemble. As darkness continued to fall, I redirected my TeleVue Renaissance toward Saturn. Ooohs and aaahs were heard as folks took their turns at the eyepiece. Although “seeing” was a bit unsteady, by watching patiently the detail in the rings came and went from clear view. The only other planet we showed was Mars.
When it was dark enough to show some “DSO’s” (deep sky objects) like globular clusters and galaxies, my good friend Susan took out Mike’s laser pointer and familiarized the visitors with the constellations which were visible. Some folks were fascinated as she spoke of Capricornus, the sea goat with the front half of a goat and tail of a fish, from ancient Greek mythology. Capricornus is a southern constellation which we can see from here in mid summer.
To amateur astronomers, far more important than the mythology and artists’ interpretations of the constellations is their major star patterns and boundaries, because these serve as guides to where to find objects in the night sky. M13, for example, is a tight globular cluster of perhaps 200,000 very old stars within the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy. It’s known as The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, or just as M13. But to find it, you learn how to identify the keystone in Hercules and you know, in relation to the stars that make up the keystone, where M13 is to be found in binoculars or telescopes. The constellation Capricornus is also host to a globular cluster, M30.
Write in any form you desire about: friends, hobbies and animals. Feel free to make up weird animals. [OK. I didn’t make up the sea-goat, the Greeks or their predecessors did that. But you must admit it’s weird.]