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Log, May 28, 1999

19 people. As is so often the case, a full Moon means that relatively little is visible in the sky. Tycho was very evident in any type of telescope or binoculars. Unfortunately almost everything else on the Moon was dazzling and hard to see. Craters were not very well defined because of the lack of shadows and low contrast.

Mars and Venus were the only objects that could be viewed successfully this evening. Venus is almost exactly at dichotomy [half lit, like a tiny quarter Moon]. Mars offered up some interesting features, as the seeing was basically good with moments of excellence. An unmapped light patch at the edge of the disk was very probably a cloud on the Martian surface!

Both tonight and in a work session last Tuesday, it has been impossible to find M51 against the overall sky brightness. Only very bright objects like M44 were evident. Even in M44 , any of its stars dimmer than magnitude 7.5 were difficult to see in binoculars.

We tried out a new pair of Orion 9x63 binoculars. A comparison was made between the Orions and the Observatory's pair of opera glasses. Given the opera glasses' incredibly poor optics and highly restricted field of view, it wasn't hard for the Orions to win an easy victory. The opera glasses were retired in favor of an older pair of 8x35 binoculars. The opera glasses will hold the dubious distinction of being "WHAT NOT TO BUY".

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 28, 1999
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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