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Monday, June 22, 2009

 

Solstice Singing and Sightings of Saturn

Scorpio curls above my portable refractor on a rooftop garden in the heart of the city (click to embiggen)

Last night was Winter Solstice here in Australia (and everywhere in the southern hemisphere generally). The Bettdeckererschnappender Weisle's choir got together for a special singing session on a rooftop garden in the heart of the city. BEW made a chocolate orange tart to take to the festivities, I took my little telescope.

The singing was fantastic. There is something about a rooftop garden that made the songs clearer to me, I could hear every voice.

And of course the location helped. It's not everyday you get to look down on a major conurbation while accompanied by wonderful song. I was surprised by the number of stars I could see in the centre of the city. I could clearly make out all the major constellations easily. Scorpio was quite easy to pick out.

After the singing I showed some people Saturn (SmallestOne had already had a good look), then we went for supper. While eating supper in the apartment blocks' common room, I discovered a telescope that had been obtained for use in the rooftop garden, with a note saying it didn't work.

Intrigued, I set about trying to find out what was wrong. It turned out that the spotter scope was a) out of focus and b) pointing nowhere near where the scope was pointing. After a bit of fiddling I mostly aligned the two, and was able to show the singers the double star Alpha Centauri, the beautiful triple alpha Crucis and the Jewel box cluster (while accompanied by ukulele backed songs).

The can't be many ways to spend a better solstice (did I mention the chocolate fondue?)

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