Looking at the stars, again

By | 2007-11-20

When I was a teenager, I liked astronomy. I used to go outside the city, with some friends, to see the night sky. We carried some stuff (small telescopes, cameras, binoculars, etc) in the car’s trunk, we wore a lot of clothes to avoid the cold in the winter nights, and we enjoyed focusing the planets and the deep sky. Now I remember those times with some melancholy.

Last weekend, being in Novelda (my hometown), and armed with my new SRL camera, I decided to go again outside the city, to a darken place, among the mountains, to enjoy the night sky again. I was alone (none of my old friends still live in Novelda), but all the winter sky was there, the same friendly sky. M42, Orion Nebula was there, so was the tiny Pleiades. I did a trip with just my binoculars, enjoying again the galaxy of Andromeda, the double cluster, and a newcomer: Comet 17P/Holmes.

Comet Holmes, with trackingActually comet Holmes is not a new object. It was discovered in the 19th century, but some weeks ago it blew up, raising its brightness to a really high magnitude, making it visible to the naked eye. I decided to try to capture it with my camera, among other deep sky objects. Here you have one of the successful pictures. Unluckily I had an unperceived problem (now solved) with the focus, and most of the pictures were slightly out of focus. Also I had problems with the cold… my camera was freezing and I had to take out and heat the batteries!

Anyway, the experience was great! Seeing this giant ball with binoculars is incredible.

I’m planning another observation, but unluckily it’s impossible to do it in Barcelona (due to the light pollution), and during Christmas (when I expected to be in Novelda again) there will be full moon (horrible to take pictures)… so I have to find a good slot of time and place to repeat the experience. I’ll share the pictures!