Pegasus, Jupiter and Polaris

I had to wait a whole week until the weather was good enough to go out and use the telescope again.  This time I went out to try and see the brightest star in the sky, but I still didn’t know fully how to use the telescope so it was a bit hit and miss.  I didn’t realise that I had to line up the viewfinder with the telescope beforehand, during daylight hours.  So when it came to trying it in the dark, it was very difficult to find the correct direction.  After several attempts, I finally locked on to the star but still couldn’t see it very well.

Having spent some time trying to view it through a telescope and binoculars, I decided to go and try and find out what it actually was.  After searching through several sites, my wife found that the star was actually Jupiter and during the month of October, it was the brightest it will be for a long time (see link in the right hand side column).  Whilst we were looking up about this, I learnt to find the ‘Square of Pegasus’ and where the North Star (Polaris) was in the sky.  This was useful as Jupiter is situated just below the ‘square’ which made it easy to find.  What made this extra relevant was that the ‘Square of Pegasus’ was right in front of us in the sky (North East) when we stood in our back yard.  This made it really easy to pinpoint other stars, planets and constellations, and we think we pinpointed Neptune further to the East.

(image taken from ‘The Sky X First Light Edition’)

Armed with this new information we went outside to have another look but, unfortunately, it had started to cloud over so we were unable to use the telescope anymore.  We did attempt to use the binoculars and thought we had zoomed straight in to Jupiter and saw a moon or two orbiting it, but we aren’t sure as the image kept changing.  We think the binoculars are a bit dodgy (they were only very cheap!) so we can’t be 100% sure of what we saw.   Will need to buy or borrow some binoculars to make sure.

So it wasn’t the best viewing but I did at least learn a lot of things about the Sky and its stars and constellations, and wherever I am now, I know how to find Jupiter as long as I can find the ‘Square of Pegasus’ first.

Time: 19:45 – 21:30, Longitude: 50.435423, Latitude: -4.093217, Viewing: North East

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