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Log, Oct 12, 2007

28 people. It was a fine but windy night at FDO. The Moon set with the Sun so that by 6:30 the only lights in the sky were stars, nebulae clusters, planets, and oh yes a few meteors, satellites and airplanes. The air was dry enough and clean enough that scattered light from Providence and the local casinos were minor distractions. Ernie had brought down his 11 inch scope but was debating setting it up in the wind. The tripod was probably sturdy enough to keep the scope upright but the wind would shake the tube so much that it would make viewing difficult. Finally he set up and was joined a while later by another astronomer who I didn't have a chance to meet.

As we have for the past couple of months, we started with the bright light in the western sky - Jupiter and its moons. Europa was hiding in Jupiter's shadow which is quite elongated from Earth's perspective as we swing around to where Jupiter gets ever closer to the Sun's glare. We never did see Europa emerge because by then we had started on the faint fuzzies which have been hidden for so much of the summer and early fall by damp weather either in the form of outright clouds or haze made brilliant by light pollution or perhaps the Moon.

We saw quite a few of the objects in and around Sagittarius [M54, M8 (Lagoon), M22, M16 (Eagle), and a bit farther afield NGC 6818 (Little Gem) and various double stars in Capricorn]. Later in the evening I was able to swing around to Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra which have been out of view near the Zenith for quite a while. I also swung down to Hercules to show people what a really magnificent globular cluster looks like. M13 - the Great Cluster in Hercules lived up to its name. I also got to Albireo (oohs and aahs) and I tried for the Veil but without filters it was barely visible. The double double (Epsilon Lyrae) was disappointing. The two principle "stars" were easy to see as almost always, but the "stars" were they barely resolved into pairs themselves. The air was just a bit too unstable. Higher powers were useless so I tried the 100x eyepiece and finally settled on the 138x eyepiece. Still not great.

Perhaps the treat of the night was our first real visit of the past two years from Mars. It was low and rather hard to see but it is the first time I've seen it before midnight since it lagged behind the Earth and disappeared.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
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Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Oct 12, 2007
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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