Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer nights in Greece

August 30th, 2008:
During my vacations in Greece I observed the constellation of Cassiopeia using my 30 years old Pentax Asahi 8x40 binoculars. These high quality optics are made in Japan and offer an amazing FOV of 9.5°. The sky near Athens was quite light polluted, something about 5mag. Hence, I was astonished as I noticed nebulosity in some regions of this constellation.
I immediately consulted my star chart and I confirmed:
Sept. 9th, 2008
At 0:10 I observed Uranus, 5.7mag, about 3 degrees east from PhiAqr, easy to find with the Pentax. At the same night at 0:20 I observed Neptun (7.8m), north of GammaCapricorni, looking it indirectly through the binos. I could neither identify their shape nor their colors, both planets were pinpoint at this low magnification (8x) but it was a pleasure to observe them. Finally, I identified the globular cluster M15 in Pegasus, the open clusters M34 in Perseus and NGC7686 in Andromeda.