A good night out

Finally, on Saturday night, I managed to break the bad run for December. Also, it was a rather different kind of observing session for me because it was the first time, since getting back into observing, that I've observed away from my own garden and in the company of someone else.

I met up with a fellow observer (based in Grantham) at Woodland Waters (it's about ½ way between our locations) with a view to seeing how good it is as an observing location. For the most part I was impressed. While there are some sources of light pollution on site they don't get in the way that much and it's much better than observing from my own garden. The big difference was how much sky there is available. With no houses to get in the way the view was pretty much horizon to horizon.

Most of the observing I did that evening was of an object I've generally managed to miss so far: M42. From my own garden Orion is hidden behind the house most of the time and, by the time it's in a position where I can see it, it tends to be rather low and lights in the village get in the way. On Saturday night I had a perfect view of it.

I also managed to observe M81 and M82 for the first time.

The other highlight of the night was my first telescopic view of Saturn for this apparition. The view wasn't that good, it was still rather low and moving in and out of view over some trees, but it was good to see it anyway.

Although I probably didn't observe as much as I would on my own (as much time was probably spent on conversation as was spent on observing), and even though I didn't log things as carefully as I would when observing on my own, I really enjoyed the evening. It was great to be observing with an unobstructed view and having company and being able to share thoughts and ideas added a totally new dimension to the experience of observing. It's something I aim to do again and as often as possible.

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