Viewing Report 3rd May 2019 (Night 1) – La Palma

Viewing time period – 22:00 – 02:13

Due to the cloud being so poor down at ATHOS star camp, we decided to go up to the Visitors Centre to observe. This is the great thing about the islands in the Canaries, if where you are staying is cloudy you just go above it.

I have only taken my 100mm Altair Astro binoculars and my Canon 6D on its Omegon Minitrax LX2 clockwork drive. The aim is to some night-cap photography and use the binos to work through some targets in The Night Sky Observer’s Guide Volume 2, Spring and Summer edition.

I started by taking some images to the West as Betelgeuse was setting and I could see M44 in cancer and other open clusters in Cancer and Hydra. Then I realised there was what looked like the zodiacal light in the West which came out well on the photo too.

@ 00:18 Markarian’s Chain was one of this trips focal points. I wanted to draw a few parts of the chain of galaxies since I had imaged them on a previous trip. The start of the chain is always around M84/M86 and the equilateral triangle made up of the additional NGC 4338. Looking through binos I noted the triangle with ease. I had just star hopped a long way to get here when I found with Averted Vision the Eyes Interacting Galaxies, namely NGC 4438 & NGC 4435. Both were obvious terns of their interaction making them separate.

@ 00:35 I decided to look at my numberplate namesake, M44, Praesepe, the Beehive Cluster in Cancer. It is soo bright here I lost my bearings and instead thought it M31 from a visual inspection…. 🙂  I then spent 20 minutes drawing this beautiful open cluster,, sparkling through the eyepieces of the binoculars.

Meanwhile Alan and Bob were taking images from their various travel rigs, both with Canon cameras and both connect by clamps to the hand rails along the visitors centres path. By 1pm the Milky Way started to rise above the mountain range housing the islands largest observatories.

By 2pm we called it a night, frozen from the cold, forgetting to bring a warm drink or gloves and of course by this point I had been awake for the best part of 45 hours with a couple of 1 hour snoozes to keep me going. So we drove the 40mins down to Athos for the rest of the night which of course was cloudy.


Leave a Reply