Home Forums RAC Main Forum General Discussion Observing tonight? Re: Observing tonight?

Dean Johnson

    I was hoping that there would be some other astro-activity by the club. But after reading about Randy's two five hour sessions with the 30" outside and Randy inside, I think I could come down with a "John Henry" syndrome pretty quick. 😉

    I'm doing my best though. I was out Sunday night which was much better than Sat. night. Clearer skies, less wind, and the temps a bit milder. I looked for Mercury, but could not see it. There was a bit of low scud along the western horizon, but I'm betting it is out of reach by now. I warmed up on M35 and NGC 2158 in Gemini, and then started in on the Herschel Hunt where I bagged six more galaxies. NGC's 2811 in Hydra (a little hard to find this small streak of light). Then 2974 in Sextans and this baby was even harder to see. If I hadn't been going after the H400 list, I'd have never seen this.

    Hold on folks, it gets much worse… 😛

    NGC's 3900 and 3912, Spiral Galaxies in Leo. I could see 3900 clearly, but where was 3912? It was supposed to be in the same FOV. I kept going off in different directions, but couldn't see it. Back to the star chart. Try south, Dean. There nearly a full degree away, with 3900 barely in the field, I saw a phantom. I moved the scope again. Again I saw just the faintest streak of light. Stared some more. Averted vision. Now I could just barely pick it up. I'm not bad at spotting photons, but this was crazy hard. I'd like to meet the sadist that put 3912 into the Herschel 400. >:(

    The next two were easy to see, Thank God. NGC 4027 in Corvus, and then I got a really fun star hop to NGC 4030. I started at Spica and that brought back old memories of standing on the sidewalk across from our house with my little Jason refractor. Just learning the constellations and looking at the 1st mag. stars. From Spica to Saturn for a quick look and then on to Gamma Virginis. It was a "dog bone" at 82X, but when I slid in the 13mm Televu Ethos, it split cleanly, both a nice yellow-green. Star hopped to Eta Virginis and then further west to a prominent two star asterism. Just north of that 4030 was bracketed by two stars. Very pretty. 🙂

    I got a great observation of Saturn and then took the time to gaze at M13 in Hercules. Epsilon Bootes was next up and my Ethos split that cleanly. So lovely. :-*

    The damn cold eastern breeze was getting stronger, and I was in the process of packing up when I remembered that I hadn't checked on asteroids 3 Juno and 20 Massalia yet. I found them easily and was correct in my estimation of the two objects that I suspected the night before. Now both had strayed from the previous nights position and I had my first "two for one" asteroid observation. I was gratified to realize that my judgement of faint magnitudes is getting pretty good. 😉

    4 and a half hours, 28 and a half y.t.d., and 1361 and a half total. A Glorious Night For Astronomy!