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Log, Sep 3, 2004

71 people. Rhythm and Roots occupied the area adjacent to the Nature Center, flooding the grounds with a great deal of light. This meant that going after faint fuzzies was out of the question, but it was an excellent night for medium range bright objects until R&R was joined by the Moon. We got quite a crowd this evening, and I was dancing about quite busily trying to do three things at the same time. After a session of star identification, we went in to see what was available through the telescope.

M20, the Triffid Nebula showed its open cluster nature very well but the fainter emission clouds were all but transparent. I concentrated on the star cluster nature since I knew few if any viewers would see the tri-foil clouds. I went to the lovely globular cluster M22 which proved to be very popular. In fact, we effectively got stuck on it for almost an hour while one after another groups of people came in. For contrast, I showed the folks the more distant M2 globular cluster. We also looked at M8 (where we could see the emission and reflection nebulae), M7 and M15.

M33 was simply so low contrast that I skipped it rather than have endless disappointment from people who couldn't make it out. Even the Great Galaxy in Andromeda (M31) was a sad case. One visitor had a spectacular photo he made of M31 but unfortunately I was so busy we couldn't chat about it.

We displayed the beautifully matched double star Gamma Arietis [Mesarthim] (3.88 and 3.92) with a wide 7.6" separation. The sky remained very stable and it was easy to split. Since all the inner planets are either near the Sun or don't rise until the morning hours, and since Pluto was out of the question with R&R lights and the Moon up, we concentrated on Uranus, Neptune and Vesta. Uranus presented a surprisingly good pale green disk. While small, it was an easy disk to discern. We couldn't see any moons of Uranus but surprisingly we could catch glimpses of Triton when we turned to Neptune. Neptune was a pale blue very small disk.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Sep 3, 2004
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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