THREE GREAT NIGHTS!

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Rotorhead
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THREE GREAT NIGHTS!

Unread post by Rotorhead »

So much for modern weather forecasting. As of a week ago, the forecast for the past weekend was so-so, and the specific prediction for this past Friday night was for rain. Well, the last three nights have been just fabulous and I am approaching exhaustion just thinking about it. :D

The weekend, of course, started with a wonderful outreach at the high-quality observing site at the Poor Farm (aka Town Farm) in Westport. There is a report on that elsewhere, but my favorite take-away was the Herschel hunt that I was able to sneak in at the end of the evening. Despite an unexpectedly bright waning moon, I was able to check off NGC 404, the Ghost of Mirach, and NGC 772, a tough little mag 11 spiral galaxy hiding right under the chin of Aries. As I reported before, we played for about an hour after the crowd dissipated, and I’d love to use that venue for a serious observing night.

Saturday, Mark put out an invitation, and I couldn’t resist. Most people did, though, and only Mark and I were set up next to his garage. A fabulous sky then did something I’ve not seen before: All of the aircraft contrails criss-crossing our area stayed put without evaporating, but instead spread out to a thin cloud of vapor which appeared to be nearly a mile wide. So the sky looked like someone was playing pick-up-sticks with horizon to horizon sized sticks! :? The oddest part was that the sky between the clouds was as clear as could be. So we spent at least part of the evening peeking through these ‘windows’ and finding some nice targets. Eventually, the contrails departed, and we had a brief open sky. I had some unfinished Herschel List business in Cygnus, but the contrails dictated otherwise. So I switched to Cassiopeia, with charts showing some ‘easy’ targets right near obvious stars. How hard could that be? Well, if it’s on the Herschel List, chances are that it could be hard. Not to mention that Cassie was approaching zenith at that time, so I was trying to look straight up through the Telrad. My neck wound up thinking that these were very hard targets… :(

First up was NGC 6934, in Dephinus, since that sky sector suddenly cleared. This is a tiny but very obvious glob, and I had it fairly quickly. I then spent about a half hour in frustration looking for NGC 6905, the Blue Flash Nebula. Fuggetaboutit. :oops: The primary marker, 29 Vulpeculae, was not visible, and even when found with the telescope, the star-hopping field from there was impossible. Mark even got it in his refractor, but neither of us could see it there, and his go-to was pretty much on target during the evening. Okay, on to Cassie. First, NGC 7790 “just another open clusterâ€
Bob M
15" f5 Starsplitter Dob/80mm Finder
5" Explore Scientific triplet APO on a Vixen Sphinx GEM
________
"He numbers all the stars, and calls each one by name." Ps 147:4
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Pete
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 9:03 pm

Unread post by Pete »

3 clear nights in a row is bad for one's health Bob.

I had company on Friday night and was up to a conference at NorthEastern until early Saturday evening. But I too was out until the wee hours last night and can attest to it being one of the top 2 or 3 nights this year.

Unlike your sojurn thru the stars, I spent the entire evening tracking 18.2 magnitude asteroid 2009 TA8 while using a photometric V filter - in hopes that I can get both astrometric and photometric data on this newly discovered minor planet.

While an easy target through a clear filter, the V filter reduces light throughput by about 50%. I've no idea as to whether the very dim images will be bright enough for analysis, but as with all the things we do in this hobby it's a learning experience.

Hope some others got out as well. The third night in a row is truly tough on one's physical system.

Pete
Pete P.
Borg
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Unread post by Borg »

Hi all, Yes you guys are right three nights in a row :) Now maybe I can get some sleep.
Paul F, Celestron HD 9-1/4.Canon 60-DA.Explorer scientific 127 carbon fiber triplet.Atlas EQ6 hyper tuned.
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Pete
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Unread post by Pete »

There's no rest just because of clouds. I was up 'till 1am running data reduction on my images. And I expect that there'll be several more hours of statistical analysis just to verify precision before submittal to the MPC.

And you know the funny thing about it is that it's challenging enough that I enjoy it.

Pete
Pete P.
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