Astronomy topics

I saw the transit of Mercury on 9 May. I missed the entry as I was trying to get a clear projected image through some light cloud. By the time I swapped to another scope the small dot was already on the Sun’s disk. Later I went to the transit event at the OU where I saw the transit again. They had several telescopes set up with front-end filters to make viewing safe. They also had a specialist solar scope that showed the sun in the H-alpha wavelength, so that streaks of solar activity were visible as well as Mercury.
In a marquee they had a display of real meteorites for visitors to handle.
Before the end of the event, cloud had come over with spots of rain.

This month, Mars and Saturn can be seen low in the SE sky around midnight BST. A small telescope will show Mars as a reddish disk. The planet is at its closest approach for years, so this is your best chance to view it.

I now have the use of three telescope mountings: an AZ-4, a very solid mount that is very quick to set up for use, but has no slow-motions, a Nexstar SLT which I use for general observing sessions – the SLT is a computer controlled mount which works well for finding and tracking faint objects. The tripod is rather wobbly though.
I also have a EQ-5, another very solid mount, an equatorial with electric drive. This is good for observing planets and other easy to find objects but I have not used it much.