While out viewing I had Rachael Alexandra come out and brave the cold temperatures and blowing winds to get pictures of me while viewing through the telescope. The pictures were taken with an exposure time of 30 seconds. You may think you’d end up with a blurry me, but when looking through a telescope at an amazing thing thousands of light-years away you tend to not move a whole lot. After she was done I gave her the chance to view a pretty open cluster in Auriga.
M36 sometimes called the Pinwheel Cluster, is an open cluster in the constellation Auriga. There are three Messier object in Auriga M36, M37, and M38 all of which are open clusters. I decided to go for M36 not just because it’s the first in the list within the constellation, but because it seemed to be the brightest of the three. M36 is roughly 4,100 light-years away, and about 14 light years in diameter. It is about 25 million years old which astronomically speaking is rather young. M36 has an irregular shape and the stars are in a chain like pattern.
Although not visible with the naked eye as I was scanning the area I came across a faint cluster of stars using the 32mm eyepiece. Not too many were very bright, but there were a few stand-out stars. About 15 stars in the heart of the cluster most of which visible with averted vision. Some seemed somewhat hidden close to the brighter stars making them harder to pick out. When I stepped up the magnification with the 12.5mm the harder to see stars before seemed to pop out in the eyepiece a bit more. Roughly the same amount of stars this time in the heart of the cluster, but then averted vision brought out a few more of the dimmer stars unseen with the 32mm.
Iridium Flare in the Northeast with Cassiopeia and Perseus in view. Click to Enlarge.