Our February meeting coincided with an excellent clear night (the first time that has happened in years!). So, keen to make the best of the opportunity, we closed our meeting early and headed over to Memorial Gardens for an impromptu observing session.
Chris gave a quick news update, including the latest from Cassini and the Mars Rovers, Pluto's new moons, the NASA budget and a look ahead to our two March observing evenings.
Bill gave a very brief overview of astronomy software (the full presentation to be given at our March meeting). Free CDs with over 600MB of astronomy freeware and shareware were available for members to take away.
Over in memorial gardens Robin had set up is telescope, and coupled with half a dozen pairs of binoculars we took advantage of some excellent skies.
Through binoculars open clusters were the order of the day, with at least ten being visible; M34, M35, M36, M37, M38, M42, M44, and the 'Double Cluster'. Robin's 'goto' scope picked out a number of objects including Mars and Saturn, the Orion nebula, the crab nebula and several galaxies.