Tonight’s Plans

01 Sep

I can’t get last night out of my head! Last night was incredibly exciting for me, as I’ve already written – so much so that I’m already making plans for tonight!

Comet Gerradd is visible in the sky tonight, almost directly overhead in the early evening. The weather is expected to be clear, so I’ll be out in my front yard with the telescope (and some bug spray!) hoping to spot it. I’m getting better at identifying the constellations – I can’t always name them, but I do recognize them – and that’ll help me find the comet itself as it’s to the east of Hercules, and to the south of Cygnus.

There’s also M13, a globular cluster of around 300,000 stars located inside constellation Hercules, which should actually be a smidge brighter than Gerradd tonight. I don’t know how well the telescope will resolve the cluster, but if I’m lucky it’ll look like a big mess of stars – sort of what a globular cluster implies, isn’t it?

If anyone wants to hang out with me tonight, you know where I live. I’m going to try and erect some sort of simple barrier against the street lamp right next to the house as its light interferes a bit with the eyepiece on the telescope. I’ll probably just move the car to an advantageous spot and set up shop. I’ve got bug spray, so the legions of mosquitoes should leave us alone.

Meanwhile, tomorrow night should be enjoyable – the International Space Station will be orbiting almost directly overhead, and will be visible for about 6 minutes as it rises from the horizon and passes into the shadow of the Earth. Scarlett is going to come out with me and watch – I don’t know how well the telescope will do with it (probably would prefer binoculars in this instance), but at the very least we should be able to watch it with our eyes. She’s super excited – when I told her what we were going to do tomorrow night, she actually squealed in delight! I hope it lives up!


Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Astronomy


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4 responses to “Tonight’s Plans

  1. allthingstasha

    September 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    as long as she sees it it will live up. You know i’ll step out and look at it for a minute at least and if you want help lining it up you know i’m right here to help. 😀 ❤

    • esforbes

      September 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      I love you 🙂 I hope you’re right – I’m not exactly worried, but if we can’t get the scope to pick it up she’ll be disappointed. That’s my only real concern – that the reality of seeing space stuff from Earth will kill some of the coolness for her.

  2. Sherry

    September 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Pete used to go out with Josh to watch the night sky through his telescope when he was just a little bit older than Scarlett, very neat stuff. *nodsnods*

    • esforbes

      September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      I had a telescope when I was a kid, but it was a kid’s telescope – meant mainly for looking at stuff down the street. I remember trying to see the moon with it, but being completely unable to get anything other than a bright white disk. Very disappointing. I wish I (or my parents) had known someone with a decent telescope.

      But it’s ok – I’m going to be the one with the decent telescopes, and my kids will get to have what I didn’t. =)


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