Greetings fellow astrophiles!
Anyone out observing last night was treated to excellent dark skies (albeit a bit shaky along the Western horizon for those observing Saturn before its late setting) and fantastic viewing through high-power. Tonight looks to be more of the same, so we will be opening the observatory around 8:30 (plenty of time to walk the grounds and see the building and member scopes during the daylight).
For myself, I will be spending a bit of my observing time trying to see the remaining light of a recent supernova in M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici/Ursa Major – just off the handle of the Big Dipper). The view was excellent last night but I didn’t know I was also seeing a 13 mag tail of the explosion). Sky and Telescope provides the following image from Stéphane Lamotte Bailey that pinpoints the location:
From Sky&Tel: French observer Stéphane Lamotte Bailey created this animation of the Whirlpool galaxy’s new supernova using images he took with his 8-inch telescope on May 30 and June 2, 2011.
Better still, for the first Public Viewing in quite a few months, we will be treated to a reasonable-hour ISS fly-by at 9:50 p.m. (shown below, from heavens-above.com).
Directions to Darling Hill can be found at www.syracuse-astro.org/dho-occ-directions/. We hope you can join us!