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Log, Oct 1, 2004

14 people. I don't know where it went, but the log entry kept at the Observatory was missing when I closed up last night. I'm going to have to try to reconstruct what happened from memory. I started out by pointing the telescope at Uranus. There was a bit of silliness about the name until I explained that the Greek name for this god was worse - Ouranus. Sigh!

Early on, Ernie Evans wanted to make a try for Pluto before the Moon came up. We loaded the large database of stars from a CD and located Pluto. Finding the same configuration in the eyepiece was a bit trickier. It really is quite easy to see a tiny dot on the screen when it is labeled "Pluto" and is very hard to see when it is a faint point of light against a less than perfectly dark sky. Basically there was a line of stars and a small equilateral triangle of stars which allowed us to find the area where Pluto was located. From the tip of the triangle about as far on the other side of the line and down to the base of the triangle was where Pluto was located. Seeing Pluto required averted vision and momentary clear viewing but most people who tried got to see our outermost officially listed planet. Most of you know that personally, I think that Pluto, Chiron and other objects out there should be called trans-Neptunian objects [TNOs] but this is neither more nor less than a debate between what is and what isn't a planet. Still anything that is only a sixth the size of our Moon is awfully small to be called a planet.

As the number of people grew we started on the bright objects in Sagittarius and Scorpio. We saw M54, M20, M22, M8, M7 and M6. Later in the evening we saw M57 (the Ring in Lyra) M27 (the Dumbbell) in Vulpecula (the fox) just above Sagitta (the arrow) and M13 (the great globular cluster in Hercules). We looked at several double stars including Albireo and the famous double-double in Lyra (Epsilon Lyrae). Albireo as always was marvelous but at first it looked poor. I had forgotten to remove the polarizing filter before people looked. Epsilon Lyrae was very bright and spectacular with one of the two outer doubles easily split into two stars and the other appeared as two touching dots. You would think that both would split about as easily because they are both about 2.5" separated, but Epsilon1 is composed of two stars of differing brightness making it harder to split than Epsilon2.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Oct 1, 2004
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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