Out in Space – Now With More Clusters!
Last night, we went to the Goethe Link Observatory for some star gazing with fellow star geeks. Keep in mind, I am more or less just along for the ride when it comes to star gazing. I enjoy staring up into space, to be sure, and I especially appreciate stars of the shooting variety. Chris is really the expert, though, when it comes to all things telescope-y; he needs to do a proper update about sun funnels, Venus transits, and all that lovely jazz (hint, hint).
My favorite finds of the evening: M7, or Ptolemy’s Cluster. I found this cluster by accident with Chris’ awesome binoculars. My method of star gazing basically means I wildly scan all over the sky with the scope or binoculars until something different crosses my field of vision. This was definitely something different. M7 is a relatively close 800 to 1000 light-years away and resides within the Orion spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. You can see it with the naked eye at the end of the stinger on Scorpio. Ptolemy first mentioned it in 130 AD.
Saturn never ceases to amaze, too. I actually found this one the other night from our backyard. I pointed the telescope at what looked like just another bright star… and realized something was off. It had a RING. And that is how we found Saturn. While it wasn’t QUITE this clear, we could see the rings and several of Saturn’s bazillion moons.
Chris’ fave: the Coat Hanger Asterism. This was totally viewable with binoculars (actually, we couldn’t see it with the telescope because it zoomed in too far). Like the Big Dipper, this is really just a chance alignment of stars rather than a cluster. So sparkly, so pretty.
Back on Land
Last night, our heads were in the stars. This morning, I was decidedly back on Earth, digging in the dirt first thing (er… at 10:30 AM – hey, whatever, we didn’t even get home until 3 AM!) and planting beet seeds, turnips, and cabbage. Our garden is starting to get its legs, and I have green tomatoes, tons of baby yellow squash, harvestable green beans, hot peppers, and basil that is just screaming to be made into gallons upon gallons of pesto.
Which brings me to the updated canning report, now with hot peppers!
- Honeyed Green Hot Peppers (2 jars) – Canned today, I used a modified recipe for honeyed jalapeno pepper halves from my Canning for a New Generation book (I cut out the allspice). This is one of the best things I canned last fall when, faced with a killer frost, I was forced to harvest over 200 green cayenne peppers. I am totally not sure if I’m using the right recipe, but I really hope I am!
- Pickled Beets (2 jars)
- Classic Pickle Spears (3 jars)