2005-10-05

Kemble's Cascade and winter hazards

Last night wasn't the best of nights, a fair bit of mist about, but I decided to venture out with binoculars and chair and spend a bit of time sweeping around the sky again — I just fancied seeing what would turn up.

Quite by accident (well, that was sort of the point) I happened upon Kemble's Cascade in Camelopardalis. Although I'd read about this asterism before and knew more or less what it would look like I was still slightly shocked and very delighted with what I saw. Although the night sky, especially through binoculars, presents you with lots of patterns of stars that stand out and catch your eye there's something a little different about a (more or less) straight line of so many stars.

I also found that it's a great little test of how well dark-adapted you are. After first finding it and having a good look at it I went inside to check a couple of books and also to check on the net. Of course, when I did this, what dark adaption I'd built up was destroyed. When I went back outside again I could hardly see any of the stars in the cascade. Within 10 minutes many of the stars were visible to me again. I can imagine this being a useful test during the winter months.

Talking of winter — I had my first experience of a winter observing hazard I'd not given much thought to before now: smoke. Nights are finally starting to get a little cold here and, accordingly, those people who heat there homes with open fires are starting to use them again.

File Under: Kemble's Cascade, Asterisms, Camelopardus, Winter Observing Hazards, Smoke.

3 comments:

Eric Smith said...

Hey Dave,
Kemble's Cascade was the result of my very first star hop. Several years ago I began with an ETX90. It was a very cold evening, but my fascination with the sky and some cheap star maps overrode the temps.

Dave Pearson said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. During the first 20mins or so of being out last night I was getting that "what the hell am I doing out here, it's bloody cold!" feeling (and, of course, it wasn't that cold -- just the first chilly night out for me after the summer) but when I stumbled on Kemble's Cascade any feeling of cold was totally overridden.

Tom said...

Kemble's Cascade is a great sight. Like you I ran across it while star hopping. Star hopping is what I do when the batteries die in my little scope (ETX70)and I am not ready to call it a night.