March 13, 2009 at 10:11 pm #10442
Will do Dean. What we need is for you to see one to the NW and we see one to the SE at the same. Now that would be coool. 8)
We'd just have to find the fragments. 🙂March 13, 2009 at 11:46 pm #10443
I'm too tired to justify driving out there for what look like poor transparency conditions. I may observe from the backyard. Good luck to all!March 14, 2009 at 12:05 am #10444
I'll be heading out there shortly.March 14, 2009 at 2:20 am #10445bwymanParticipant
Hrm…something tells me I should have tried to find Keller in the day light. :-/
I was just out on the back porch, trying to find Ceres. I think maybe I see it, but looking at the XEphem sky view, I seem to be missing a star in the application. I see an extra point of light between what I think is Ceres and what should be the three Leo stars (Leo 48, Leo 50, Leo 54).
My viewpoint looks something like the attached PDF.
[attachment deleted by admin]March 14, 2009 at 6:43 am #10446Dean JohnsonParticipant
Hello astronomy fans! I got out there tonight for four and a half hours. I'd have gotten an extra hour after sunset, but had a cloud bank roll thru. I used the time to wash my dirty van. 😀
Venus is really cool. The cresent is so thin it reminds me of a total solar eclipse.
Comet Lulin is in Gemini near Kappa and Mu Geminorum. It is getting a little dimmer, but is still a very good object.
Saturn had Titan and 2 other Moons off on the west side tonight.
Ceres has moved well northwest of 54 Leonis, but with the help of my previous observations, its color and a good star chart, I found it no problem.
I got two Herschel 400 objects, NGC 2266 and NGC 2286, both are open clusters, but 2266 in Gemini is a beautiful little gem. 8) 2286 is wide and scattered.
Lunar II wrapped things up, I nailed the crater Rabbi Levi.
Kind of a persistant breeze, but the temps weren't bad. It was great to see all that stuff and finally get back on the Herschel search again. AGNFA!March 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm #10447rabomgaarsParticipant
Keller – I got there last night at 7:00 in case I had trouble setting up the new scope. No problem. It took 30 seconds………..Then had to be patient for the sun to set. Jeff Newland came around 7:30 and helped me with lenses. We looked at Venus numerous times before it set. We waited as the stars and finally the constellation appeared one by one in the sky and made initial sightings of Saturn in the west, one moon and then two moons later. We saw a satellite go over fast and bright, overhead at 8:06 west to east (see Dean – I did check the time). Mostly I was getting used to the scope (isn't this a good time to be short!!). Tried various lenses and practiced moving the scope in up (down), left (right), right (left) – something I will have to practice. Good news about the scope as it works well and apparently doesn't need to be collimated. I pretty much practiced the tried and true – am so impressed with the Great Orion Nebula. Luka and Kevin came after 9:00 and I left about 9:30. Thank you RAC for letting me take care of the scope.
It has solved, at least for now, my long time indecision about ever getting a scope. BMarch 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm #10448
I'm more likely to make it tonight than last night. I fell asleep at 7. :-\March 14, 2009 at 5:52 pm #10449
Right now, I am leaning towards heading over there tonight, too. Last night, Luka was thinking perhaps tonight as well.
After Rebecca left, Brandon also showed up. I left soon after he came as my finder was frosted up.March 14, 2009 at 9:37 pm #10450
I'm leaning towards going tonight. Might be around 9ish.
Last night was good. I brought my friend Kevin. He enjoyed it, but we'll see if he gets hooked. Some of the night was showing him some of my favorite targets. Saturn is great, of course. As is the Orion nebula, the Double Cluster and Pleiades. I went back to things I'd seen once or twice before, M65/M66, M51, M53, M64. I did finally spot the Eskimo Nebula, but I didn't see the eskimo in it. I managed to find M94 in CVn, which reminded me of M32. I also looked for NGC 129 in Cassiopeia, but I'm not sure if I saw it or not. I found a poor grouping of just over half a dozen stars, but that didn't like like any open cluster to me.March 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm #10451
I guess I will be out at Keller tonight as my scope is sitting outside cooling off. 🙂
Of course, I suppose I could stay at home and observe.March 14, 2009 at 10:00 pm #10452
Given that I "slept in" until after 4, got a brief nap this afternoon, and the skies are looking good, I rate the likelihood I'll be there at dark at 85%.March 15, 2009 at 1:36 am #10453
I am going right now. Will probably be out for several hours. Given that its warm, the moon won't rise till late, and I have time to sleep in tomorrow.March 15, 2009 at 10:02 am #10454
It was a pretty good night at Keller. I found 6 Herschel 400 objects in about 90 minutes. I didn't find one – a galaxy in Lepus listed as "fairly bright." But I did manage to get several nebulae in Orion and a smattering of Open Clusters in Canis Major that had eluded me from home. Luka, Jeff, and Brandon showed up at various points (okay, so Jeff beat me out there) and it was pleasantly warm. Luka is rapidly advancing from a beginning observer to an experienced one.March 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm #10455
I got out there pretty early last night and watched the stars come out. There was already a car there. A couple of gentlemen, John and Chris, were out looking for woodcock. They came back to their car. Quite a few stars were coming out. I showed them Venus (as noted elsewhere, a very thin crescent, very nice). Saturn was up high enough. I was able to bring it in between the branches of the trees. They were quite impressed. I pointed out some of the other stars, the Winter triangle (Sirius, Procyon, Betelgeuse), Rigel, Orion and his belt, Aldebaran. They did have binoculars with them. I pointed John in the direction of Pleiades (not yet visible) and he was able see it and was quite surprised to see such a nice little cluster, like a little dipper. I told him that later when it gets darker, he'll be able to see it naked eye, it'll first appear as a fuzziness. By the time they left, it was dark enough and they were able to see it. All in all, they were quite pleased and impressed with what they saw. I directed them to our website. It is possible they may show up some time at a meeting or an outreach event.
Scott came before they left. Scott said that the likelihood he would come out to Keller was now 100%… not 85%. 🙂
As noted, Scott had a productive night. Luka and Brandon were still there after I left.March 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm #10456
I got there about 9. I also had a fairly productive evening. I started with an open cluster in Cassiopeia. Probably NGC 663. Then I found M103. Next I printed off a finder chart for M106. I used CVn 3 and 5 to hop to M106. It was right in a scope, very easy. It was quite bright and fuzzy. Next I hopped to M63. That was fainter, harder to find, and didn't reveal any structure. Feeling good, I made and attempt at M109. Since UMa is higher in the sky at this point, I was able to find it. It was quite faint though. Next I looked for M108, which I had failed to find last month. I found that too, it was quite long. And a nearby I saw the Owl Nebula. It was very round, but I couldn't see the eyes. Next I tried to find M3. I just couldn't find it. It is quite a ways from any bright star. I gave up after 15 or 20 minutes. I had just barely seen M66/M65 earlier, but I returned to it, and it was very bright as it rose higher in the sky. This time I was able to see their companion, NGC 3628. I'm quite sure I found NGC 3593, but that was really faint. I continued the search to M96 and M95. These were harder because there were fainter stars in the region, and no super-clear guide-stars. I did find M95 and M96, and I think I saw 1 or 2 other galaxies in the region, but I'm not sure if that was M105 or one of the other 5 galaxies around there. Pressing my luck I tried for M101 which has repeatedly eluded me. After a few minutes I did see a very faint glow right were it was supposed to be. I couldn't resolve anything. With Brandon's suggestion, I tried t find M66/M65 in my binoculars, and sure enough, since they were higher in the sky, I could see them. They were very faint in my 15×70's, but definitely there. I think I saw one in Brandon's 10×50's. My last targets were in the Virgo galactic cluster. I found Rho Virginis, and hopped up towards zenith and found M58. I also went down and to the left from there, and found what I think is M60, but it might've been M59.
I did make a small improvement to my scope. I fashioned a light shield for the front. Its a fairly thin aluminum sheet in a loop, 12" long, with a black velvet attached to the inside. That did seem to help increase some contrast when looking at the light polluted areas. It's not super easy to get on or take off, so I didn't do too much of a thorough test. I think this will help even more for our sidewalk event.
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