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  • Writer's pictureTracey Snelus

Relaxing in the night time garden.

Updated: May 30, 2020

We have had many clear skies and lots of beautiful warm days this year in 2020 which has been rather pleasant considering we are all quarantined at home with only a prescribed exercise allowance per day and urgent supply dash to the shops. I have a sun tan and I look knackered from the late nights and lots of working from home.

The nights are much lighter again now and at 21:27 as I write this blog post it is still light outside with dusk just starting to set in. On the 24th May after my Virtual Online talk ( see other post) Jonathen and I took a walk and then decided to spend a few hours out in the garden to watch the night sky. Jonathen set up the 14" Dobsonian and I got cuddled up warm on the new garden recliners which are pretty ace for observing.

We watched the ISS pass over which was being chased down by the HIIB Japanese supply module due to dock the next day, the pass was bright and long. I knew my mum would be watching from Birmingham and it gave me comfort knowing that whilst I can't see her at this moment we can still share the same view, 30 seconds later she called. It is difficult for her at the moment, but like many she is finding solace in looking up at the night sky.

Moments later a bright meteor passed over with a copper colour on the trailing edge of the meteor and a nice long ionisation trail following. All in all it was a good night for meteors, I spotted 9 in total.

Every now and then the quiet was broken by Jonathen telling me what he was observing. Each time I just couldn't resist breaking out of the warm coccoon I had formed around myself from my furry blanket, which I call Chewbaca, to take a look.

We observed M3, M5 and M13. All globular clusters. M3 and M5 were new for me and both were distinctly different. M5 had what I would call a capsid of stars surounding it whereas I'd describe that M3 looked almost as though it had spiral arms. A few satelites, iridium flares and then it was time for bed as I slowly started to drift off to sleep and so had Jonathen. It was a nice night and one we have been looking forward to for sometime.

My sketches of M3, M5 and M13

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