Just a short post this time because, wow, has this month ever been busy for me. Either I've been sick or my kids have been sick, and there's far too much to do at work, so there's no chance for me to observe anywhere other than our rooftop observation deck. I can pack up my telescopes quickly when my wife needs my help - or when I'm just too sick to endure the cold for long.
Luckily, Orion is riding high in the sky during the fleeting minutes I usually have to observe, and that makes for some impressive viewing even from my light-polluted rooftop. Last night my Takahashi refractor gave me some beautifully ethereal views, with delicate nebulosity filling almost the entire field of view at just over 80x. I recognize that the above picture is, of course, terrible on some level. But with an iPhone, held by shivering hands on a cold night? It's not the worst!
The seeing must have abruptly worsened, because I spotted only hints of Rigel B and the white dwarf orbiting Sirius (the "pup") with a Nagler 9mm eyepiece. Both stars danced and flickered. Should I have used a higher power eyepiece? Maybe, but it was just too cold. In any case Betelgeuse was striking, even with the naked eye. It's dimmed to an extraordinary degree over the last few months! It's a sobering reminder that even stars diminish and die (although Betelgeuse may not go nova for many thousands of years yet).
A crescent moon is always a spectacular sight through any telescope, let alone the FC-100DC, and luckily I set up just before it slipped too low in the night sky. Still, I had to observe through a lot of atmosphere, and through currents welling up from the rooftop (my primary antagonist on our observation deck). As the pictures attest: the mesmerizing detail I can often see when the Moon is higher in the sky just wasn't there last night. But as always, the Moon was worth a look.
Not the best night, but any time I can get a quality view of the Orion Nebula from the city, I'll take it.