Log, Jun 11, 1999

18(+8) people. In reviewing the sign in log book at FDO last night, I noticed that a number of people had not logged in. This included the people with the big scopes at the north end of the state. We should try to encourage more people to sign. It helps justify us when we need a large grant as we did this year! top

The weather was very clear but incredibly damp. Telescopes were coated with dew almost immediately. Many of us spent most of the evening drying our equipment. We could hear thunderous breakers on the far side of Ninigret Pond all night. I suspects that more than a little of the dampness/mist was salty.

We did more star hopping than usual tonight. Events got started by searching for that most illusive of bright planets - Mercury. More than a dozen visitors and staff estimated the two thirds of the distance between Venus (easily visible) and where we imagined the Sun was looking for our target. Several false sightings (planet Boeing) were made before one visitor with good binoculars sighted Mercury above a tree to the northwest. By the town Mercury was visible, so was Mars. Before the evening was out, we had many of the visitors able to locate not only the main late Spring constellations, but the zodiacal constellations, Hercules, the Summer triangle and the Milky Way.

We had a wonderful selection of telescopes this evening. Our friends from the northern part of the state made their dark of the Moon trek to FDO. Their large telescopes, a 10" and a 20" Dobs, were soon looking for Messier targets. The new supernova in M88 drew a lot of attention. M3, M5, M8, M13, M20, M21, M27, M64/ M65, and M92 were also drawing a lot of attention. Many visitors with binoculars had the joy of finding their first deep space object. M4 and M44 were extremely easy to find. M4 is so close to Antares that a star hop is easy to describe. M44 was easy to find tonight with brilliant Venus almost in its midst. Many first timers used binoculars to find M8 and M20 against the Milky Way star fields. A conveniently placed gap in the trees which framed them neatly, making star hopping a snap.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jun 11, 1999
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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