This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I've recently bought a good pair of binoculars, mainly for looking at astronomical objects. Even a simple 10x pair of binoculars is good enough to see many interesting things, such as the four big moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. You can easily see them as small points around Jupiter. Jupiter itself looks like a small disk, but you can't see much more (you'd need a telescope to see for example the bands of clouds).
Two weeks ago there was a clear and moonless night and I could see the Andromeda galaxy. I didn't expect it to be visible from the urban environment that I live in, so I was surprised that I could see it, as a hazy patch between Cassiopeia and Pegasus. It's really amazing to think about what you're seeing: a large galaxy, 2.5 million light years away (that light took 2.5 million years to travel from there to us!), containing a trillion stars!
I'm going on holiday soon, I'll be in the desert for Christmas, where it's really dark. The view of the sky at night will be spectacular there, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to take my netbook with Stellarium on it with me, so that I can look up what there is to see.
By the way, this year it is 400 years ago that Galileo first used his telescope to look at objects in the sky, and that he discovered the moons of Jupiter. Because of that this year is the International Year of Astronomy (declared by the United Nations).