8th December 2020

Tuesday, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Jupiter and Saturn are about a degree and half apart in the sky now. Through the telescope both the planets just barely fit into the FOV of the 20mm eyepiece. At 40x magnification, using the 10mm eyepiece, the planets just barely fit into the FOV. Its not easily seeable, not as much inside the field of vision as they were in the 20mm eyepiece in the entry on 27th Nov. The apparent distance between the planets are getting shorter and shorter and is easily visible to the naked eyes

After clouds covered the planets, I observed the bright star in Tucana (α Tucanae) which seemed to blink in red and blue through the telescope. Electricity had gone while I was stading near the pond. I took the telescope inside and came out for some naked eye observations in the dark albeit cloud covered skies with zero artificial lighting. It wasn't clear as that other day when power had gone, due to the presence of clouds.

I was easily able to spot Alrial III or β Phoenicis in Phoenix, as well as Ankaa, α Phoenicis. I was also able to see the two other stars that forms the 'head' of the phoenix, along with Ankaa. I made a mental note of the positions of these stars for later reference. The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy and the String of Pearls are all near to this asterism. The constellation of Sculptor which lies above Phoenix are the where we can find the Sculptor and Bode Galaxies as well.

Later at midnight, before sleeping, the eastern part of the sky was so clear that there were hundreds if not thousands of stars scattered around Orion, Lepus, Canis Major, Auriga and Taurus. I could even make out M41 with my naked eyes as a patch of light! I tried looking at the sky with the 5x24 finderscope but it wasn't that effective. I looked at Sirius and the Orion Nebula with the finderscope. I tried to see if I can see the open clusters inside Auriga as patches of light, but the ones I did see were not the clusters but were part of the general asterisms inside Auriga. It was absolutely breathtaking nonetheless. The head of Orion which wouldn't normally be visible to the naked eyes was bright and in all its glory. I was able to make out the three individual stars that make up the small triangle there. Same thing with Pleadies, I was able to see the rhombus shape with my naked eyes really easily.