Last night was a pretty cool night for astronomy (both figuratively and literally) – there was a great deal of stuff visible, and since I traded my old iPhone for one of the new Droids I was able to take advantage of Google Sky* and some of the other location apps to find interesting stuff to look at.
I was able to locate the M42 Orion Nebula in the sword of Orion – and got a pretty good view of it too. At first glance you think it’s a local cloud, but after a quick check with Google images I was able to confirm that it was in fact a cloud, one that was over 1300 light years away and about 24 light years wide.
It’s always exciting to see live images, rather then photographs, or digital files – gives you a sense of connection (even though what I saw was how the nebula looked in 700 AD.)
Here’s how it looked through the scope – this is not my image of course, but it was borrowed from Google images and the site http://www.weasner.com/co/Photos/Photos.html
* Yes fanboys I know you can run Sky on newer iPhones, just not on my old one.