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Log, Sep 10, 2004

22 people. The mosquitoes which have not been active this summer decided to make an appearance. I really had to slather on DEET with its odd odor. We had a very small group of people for such a lovely clear night. We had 17 people inside and 5 amateur astronomers set up on the lawn and the parking lot. If I have it right we had a 14", a 10", and two 6" telescopes. Since I was running the 16" single handedly, I didn't have much time to peek through the outside scopes. One of the 6" scopes was a Russian made scope. It was my first look through one of the Russian scopes that have come on to the market fairly recently.

The sky cleared early although wavy streamers of clouds came back later in the evening. Most objects were easily seen and quite stable for a night with as much wind as we had. It was a moonless night, and quite dark until the clouds came in to reflect light from the cities to the north and the casinos to the west.

We looked at Neptune early (Uranus was too low behind a tree). We looked at the cluster of Messier objects in and around the galactic center in Sagittarius and Scorpio. We looked at M4, M7, M6, M8, M20, and M22. We were able to get very satisfactory views at high and low powers. I juggled eyepieces trying to match the object to the field of view. However, even at the lowest powers, M45 (Pleiades) and M31 (The Great Galaxy in Andromeda) are simply too wide to be totally included. Some objects like M22 (a lovely globular cluster near the top of the Teapot in Sagittarius) really could stand up to magnification. With the 12mm eyepiece in place, the cluster filled the eyepiece from side to side. A visual jewel box that rivals even its more famous counterparts like the Hercules Cluster M13 which we saw later than night.

We did have trouble with the Pinwheel (M33). I could get it in view but none of the structure stood out against the light pollution from Cranston, Warwick and Providence. M31 was just enough higher that seeing the edge of the wheel (not just the core) was easy. Getting the cores of M31 and M110 in the same field of view made for a very satisfying image.

Several satellites passed over including a spectacular pass of what I think was the International Space Station. It moved from the southwest to under Aquila before fading from view in the East. While looking at M4, a meteor went across the cluster rather slowly - taking at least three seconds to cross. Given the small field of view, and the very long time for the meteor to cross, I have to assume that I was looking at a very bright and very distant meteor. Anything closer would have made a wide angular motion quickly. Anything dimmer would not have been noticeable. I wonder if we will get reports of a fireball from New York or Pennsylvania folks.

I spent some time looking at double stars last night. Two of the pairs were HD183275 [at magnitudes 5.5 and 8.8] and Rho Hercules [at magnitudes 4.2 and 5.1]. I lost my notes on a third pair I selected which was notable because it contained a bright white star with an orange dimmer star.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Sep 10, 2004
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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