Log, Oct 12, 2001

50 people. Tonight was one of those nights when we had a very large number of people for most of the evening. With so many people waiting for a turn at the telescope we did not actually go to as many places as average. We hit some old favorites: Mars and later Saturn, several Messier objects (M2 and M22 which are globular clusters, M8 [Lagoon] a diffuse nebula, M17 [Omega/Swan], and M57 [Ring Nebula in Lyra]. We visited lesser know sites such as the Little Gem Nebula [NGC6818 in Sagittarius] and the Saturn Nebula [NGC7009 in Aquarius].

Outside a constantly changing by very interested group of skywatchers (many of whom were visting FDO for the first time) saw a wide variety of meteors, satellites and planes [Planet Cessna and Planet Boeing as well as Comet Contrail were sighted all over the sky]. We had an extraordinary number of people attempting to sight the Great Andromeda Galaxy by eye alone. I don't have an accurate count but at least 20 people reported seeing the low contrast by surprizingly large glowing patch. Several alternative ways to star hop to the galaxy were tried. A large number of binoculars from small 7x35s, a unidentified unit which looked like a ray gun, several minigiants and several 8x50s were being used all over the sky. The folks outside with binoculars were the only folks to see anything of Jupiter.

The weather last night proved a disappointment. The temperature dropped down to the dew point shortly after dark. Those of you who know about this condition realize that as dew condenses out of water vapor, a surprizing amount of heat is released. This keeps the temperature from falling farther until much of the dew has fallen to the ground. Haze and fog would suddenly pop up everywhere within a few minutes. A few minutes later a faint warm breeze would dissapate it just as radidly. As the night wore on, slowly the forces of MURKY overcame the forces of BALMY and we were forced to close early.

Just at closing, a photographer who had been working in and about the Observatory this summer stopped by to present us with some fine photos. We thanked her and we'll put them up on the website as soon as we get them scanned into the computer. They really are very dramatic color shots of the Dome and folks in the dark taken as long timed photos.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Oct 12, 2001
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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