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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photos of Stars and Planets - July 2012

Things at SCOB have been a bit quiet this month in comparison to a very active June holiday period. Weatherwise, the first two weeks of July were full of cloud and rain and we didn't get to see much during Friday night stargazing.
However, hot weather did return and with it, clear skies. The last two stargazing sessions were very fruitful as we got to see several of those bright star clusters that I was talking so much about in an earlier post.
Open Star Cluster NGC 6231 located in the constellation Scorpius - as seen through a 6-inch refractor telescope.
Unfortunately we didn't see any of those fainter globular cluster but clear skies meant that we could also see a rather nice display of planets. In the early evening Saturn, Mars and a star called Spica formed a bright triangle in the western part of the sky. This triangle will gradually get smaller over the next weeks as Mars gets closer to Saturn.

Last week I also managed to wake up early in the morning at 6am, to go outside and take some photos of another bright trio of objects. After a few failed attempts, due to clouds, my sleepy eyes were suddenly revived by the sight of Venus, shining brilliantly white, along with Jupiter and a star called Aldebaran (in the constellation Taurus) along with a bunch of other familiar stars, including the constellation Orion. 

Venus (brightest and lowest), Jupiter (top left) Aldebaran (star, right of Jupiter) as seen from Singapore - 6:30am, before sunrise in late July.
Whilst at home, I also took advantage of the clear skies and ventured outside on a few nights after dinner to catch another glimpse of some bright constellations. Once the moon had gone, many bright stars stood out, including the constellations Scorpius & Sagittarius.

The teapot shape of constellation Sagittarius (left) and hook-shaped constellation Scorpius (right) - as seen in a light polluted area of Singapore.

I find it very enjoyable to look at constellations with just my eyes or a pair of binoculars, especially with clear skies.  After a while though, it was time to leave the stars and the mosquitos behind and head back inside, where I joined my wife to watch some indoor stars, i.e. watching Korean drama.......An-nyeong-ha-se-yo!

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