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Log, Jun 22, 2007

18 people. I arrived early at FDO for a board meeting. I left home in a wild rainy squall, only to find Charlestown bright and clear. Shortly after I arrived, a sun shower dampened the deck but by 7:30 we were socked in with clouds. Since I couldn't get to the Internet to post a closing I decided to wait until dark to make sure it didn't clear. Well it did clear, and fairly well.

At first we had no one except for a father and small son. After they left, I had plenty of time to do a careful two star alignment. I had spectacular success with the scope pointing almost perfectly anywhere in the sky. Even with the Moon sitting squarely in the Great Virgo Galactic Cluster [a.k.a. The Realm of the Galaxies], I was reliably able to find just about any Messier or NGC object. Although we had very few folks early, later in the evening quite a few folks showed up. And people kept coming right up to closing.

With people arriving and departing, and people wanting to see this and that, I did a fair amount of backing and filling. We saw M4, M13, M85, M86, M87 and M104. We looked at a bunch of multiple stars including Rho Ophiuchus (an interesting area on a dark night but rather bland today), Albireo, and Epsilon Lyrae [the Double Double].

We saw Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon. Jupiter was pale but the rather extraordinary storms occurring on it basically filled in the entire equatorial belt. I had no difficulty seeing the Red Spot. Some folks wanted to see objects which were not in the sky - such as the winter constellations including Orion. I had no intention of waiting until near dawn for the first of them to arrive. One amateur was hoping to see the Horsehead Nebula. This part of Orion is extremely tricky to spot. Even with filters, to the naked eye it appears to be a faint gray area against a slightly lighter gray background. It is a large nebula but with very low contrast. And we have to wait about half a year for it to reappear at a reasonable hour.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jun 22, 2007
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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