We all missed the last get together of the Moon and the Pleiades in July due to the weather. I wasn't going to miss it this time around! I set up the 80mm Nighthawk at 8PM on Oct. 9th just to check sky conditions. While looking at Altair at 8:45PM a satellite entered the FOV of my Meade 25mm EP. I followed it until it just faded out.
I knew I'd see some dew during the evening because when I checked my observing chair at 10PM and it was wet. I have a small hair dryer and my 12-volt battery pack so that took care of the dew.
I saw seven stars in M45 that I knew would pass behind the Moon. I got to see four of them go. The first one blinked out at 12:05AM on the 10th. The second star blinked out at 12:12AM. The 3rd star blinked out at 12:41AM. There was a faint star in front of the 3rd star that should have blinked out several minutes before the 3rd star but I lost sight of it in the Moon's glare. I used a 10mm Antares Elite Plossl which gave me 48x. The 4th star blinked out at 12:43AM.
I watched a pair of stars, one above the other, approach the Moon and I fully expected to see both blink out. I figured it would take 20-30 minutes before that happened. When both stars were very close to the limb I lost them! They were bright enough for me to see but something wasn't right. It turned out to be dew on the optics. By the time I cleared the main objective both stars had ducked behind the Moon. It happened that quick.
Sometime between 1:05AM and 1:10AM a star emerged from behind the Moon. I missed the actual appearance but it was very bright and I concluded it was the first star I saw blink out at 12:05AM. With that in mind I watched the dark limb and saw a star blink on at 1:18AM. That was very cool. This was the 2nd star I saw blink out at 12:12AM.
I swept the sky until 1:45AM when M42 was high enough to see. I never tire of seeing this gem. I used 16mm, 10mm and 8mm EPs to view this great nebular. All three EPs revealed the four stars of the trapezium but just four stars, no 5th or 6th star tonight. I think my 80mm is too small to show these stars. I've seen a 5th star with my 5-inch ED but that 6th star has eluded me. It's on my list of objects to look for during my next trip to Vermont later this month.
I shut down at 2AM. All-in-all it was a good session. The local skunk paid me a visit several times during the session but always kept his distance. When he seemed to be heading towards me I just shined a white light at him and he took off toward the street. I could do without this kind of company.
I hope some of you got to see the Moon and M45.