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Log, May 4, 2001

34 people. It has been an FDO tradition to bestow the faintly coveted Smudge of the Week Award" to that celestial object which was least worthy of a second look. We are careful to never award this to any object which has the least redeeming feature. Last night by unanimous consent the SofWA was handed out to [sound of cowbells offstage] to the SKY. What a yucker. Even blazing beacons like Jupiter were indistinct against the soupy glop illuminated by a 91% full Moon.

This is not to say that we didn't have quite a few hopeful folks trying to see celestial wonders. Many came, but no one was overjoyed. The sole easily seen object was the source of most of our woes - a very bright Moon. Jupiter was barely visible and its moons all but lost. We split the bright star Castor, followed by Mizar, ζBoo, and γLeo. While we were sucessful at spliting each of these doubles, we spent time doing it simply because we couldn't see much else. Every one of these stars is bright.

Doug had hoped to catch a 6th magnitude star emerge from behind the Moon. We waited with no sucess. The bright fuzziness around the Moon was so dazzling that it would have hid a 2nd or 3rd magnitude star. When we went to that all time crowd pleaser M13 the Great Cluster in Hercules only to find it invisible to all but the most experienced observers we knew we were not going to be rewarded for our patience.

We did get in a bit of practice for our new staff members. They did just fine although yours truly managed to put the telescope into a spin, bringing it to a stop just before it damaged a eyepiece when I chose a star too near the Zenith. All in all not a very memorable night. We closed shortly after 11 PM just as the first few drops of rain fell.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
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Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 4, 2001
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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