Stargazing at the Sportsman Inn

A surprisingly good observing this evening on Saturday 17th January at the Sportsman Inn on Redmires Road. The weather forecast suggested a clear night with heavy clouds and snow, which made no sense, so we rolled the dice and went along anyway. Hedging our bets on equipment we took the Celestron 72mm Firstscope mini-dobsonian and a pair of 20×80 binoculars. We were lucky. Conditions were very clear between 7 and 8pm between the snowfalls, so we had good visibility of Comet Lovejoy, the Orion Nebula, The Pleiades and Jupiter. A number of adventurous visitors braved the snowy conditions and joined us in our hunt for the comet-of-the-moment, which was fairly easy to find east of the Pleiades.
This was an exercise in making the best of inexpensive equipment and everything worked very well. It shows that you don’t have to drop £££ on shiny things to have a great observing session! We continue to be surprised at the quality of the tiny 72mm Firstscope – it’s a really good entry level piece of equipment.
As always, the welcome in The Sportsman Inn was warm and friendly, and the food and drink was to the usual excellent standard!