"Clear" Skies for a change

by Shneor Sherman

I stepped out into my back yard about half an hour ago, to find what appeared to be clear, dark skies (no neighbors had any lights on for once). So I quickly brought out a pair of 10x50 binos, and enjoyed reasonable views of M31, the Pleiades, M41, M47 and a sighting of M46. I tried to find M81, as it was high in the sky, but to no avail. Of course, the "clear" skies were somewhat illusory, as there were some high clouds. The arms of M31 were quite distinct, however. Then one neighboe turned on the lights...

I've been reading a book called "A Guide to the Galaxy", by Henbest and Coulter. It's excellent. It describes the structure of the galaxy, including our "local arm" and contains a wealth of information, both historical and current.

If this weather continues through January, as I have a 3-day weekend (Jan. 17-19) that coincides, more or less, with the new moon, I hope to travel somewhere within a 10-hour drive where there are clear skies. The existing situation has become rather dreary ;-).