Deep Sky Update – November 2023

November has not seen great observing weather in Orkney.  No deep-sky sessions sadly. We did have some aurorae early in the month, but just brief gaps in the cloud. And I only had one solar observing session. On a positive note, the concrete pad for the observatory has now been poured (at the beginning of the month) – I have been contemplating setting up the pier but with the very cold turn in the weather I will need to wait for some higher temperatures before progressing. I expect it may be Spring before it all gets up and running.

Deep Sky Webinar – January 11 2024

Speakers are now arranged for the Deep Sky Webinar on January 11th starting at 19:30 UT. Chris Lee will talk about Electronically Assisted Astronomy, John McCue will speak on Double Star Observing, and Mark Stuart will give a talk entitled  “Exploring the cosmic tapestry: take a journey, observe galaxies”.

The link to join the webinar is:

It will also be streamed on the BAA YouTube channel.

Deep Sky Section Meeting 2024 – March 16

The section face-to-face meeting for 2024 is now confirmed to be held on March 16th, and will take place at the Humfrey Rooms in Northampton. Many thanks to NNHS for hosting this meeting. Two speakers are confirmed so far. If anyone would like to give a talk please let me know as soon as possible. 

Object of Interest for November

I was pleased a number of you had a go at IC 289, although poor weather affected some observers too. Martin Foad managed a visual observation with a 300mm Dobsonian, though he found finding the field tricky. Here is his sketch.

Sketch by Martin Foad

Jim Latham was confounded by the weather but mentioned he had seen it in the past with his 14inch Dobsonian.

Here is a nice image by Iain Cartwright, and one from Richard Sargent. Alan Thomas captured it with his Unistellar evscope and using the COAST remote telescope.

Iain Cartwright

Richard Sargent

December’s Object of Interest Target

Something a little different for the December target; Barnard 34 in Auriga. One of the winter dark nebulae – it will be a challenge for the visual observer though probably one of good skies rather than aperture, indeed binoculars may be the best bet. It should not be too hard to find as it lies about halfway between M36 and M37, but as there is an absence of stars rather than anything bright identification can be tricky. It should be a good target for imaging too. It is about 20 arc-minutes across, but can be nicely framed in the starry field.

Deep Sky Picture of the Month

For some reason I always think of the Pleiades being a Christmas delight – and this deep image of M45 by Mark Phillips using the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh’s remote telescope in Spain is stunning. 

And Finally

I hope the weather might pick up a little over the new Moon period and we’ll be able to get some observing sessions. And I hope you have a merry Christmas – maybe Santa will bring some astronomical goodies – and a very Good New Year.

Clear, dark skies


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