Warming Up For A Cool Night Ahead

June 30, 2020

“Wow, that’s cool”


David, Cress, Campbell and Monty are looking relaxed ahead of their Astro Tour, but rugged up later for another near freezing still clear night.

It was another chilly night coming up with the air still and the sky clear after a few early scattered clouds moved on. There have been a few still, clear nights lately and in winter temperatures can drop close to freezing. But the upside to that is good “seeing” conditions – the term astronomers use for sharp viewing of objects … Warm jackets and beanies are de rigeur!

The night, for a family who had never looked through a telescope before, was largely a Solar System experience. The Moon was high in the sky – one day older than 1st Quarter. Its brightness dictated that the night’s observing was for the brighter objects in the sky – stars, clusters and the great planets rising in the east. Galaxies are too faint to be seen on Moonlit nights. But the timing now and for a few months more is excellent for the giants of the Solar System. They were to be the star act.

Starting out with a spectacular cratered Moon, prominent “starry objects” then took centre stage. All the while Jupiter and Saturn were climbing higher in the sky to improve their views. The “cool” observations continued. Double stars, DY Crucis – a red “carbon star” and the sparkling, colourful and very young (twelve million years old) Jewel Box cluster, adjacent to the Southern Cross, were some of the objects viewed.

When elevated enough for observing, Jupiter’s first views were a delight. Coloured gas bands of different widths in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere crossed the giant planet with the Great Red Spot plain to see. We also saw one of the regular feature events taking place on Jupiter more easily visible in larger telescopes – a large transit shadow moving across the surface made by Galilean moon Europa while making its passing, causing an eclipse on Jupiter’s surface. (things are always changing “up there” in space, but we don’t notice it from down here!)
… Next, the ‘scope was directed to magical Saturn. The glorious rings were  open wide for optimal viewing – Saturn at its grandest aspect. The Cassini Division in the rings was easily visible and coloured bands could be seen on the planet’s surface. Titan, Saturn’s very large moon was prominent, as were many smaller moons irregularly dotted around the planet. It was a memorable sight and for “first-timers” (and old timers) at the eyepiece – very cool.

“We thoroughly enjoyed having a tour of the night sky, complete with impressive views of the moon, Saturn, Jupiter and the stars.
Being new to star gazing, it was the perfect beginner’s guide to the Southern Hemisphere Sky.

Bruce was very knowledgeable and patient, explaining everything we saw through the telescope. Our 8 and 10 year old boys thoroughly enjoyed it as did we.”    Cressida Beale

For further enquiries contact Honeysuckles Astronomy Tours and we will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.
Call Bruce +61 412 100 501 or email