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Log, May 26, 2000

126 people. What a fantastic night we had with a group of visitors from the Thames Valley Astronomers, a Brownie troop and a Girl Scout troop not to mention more than 70 folks who just showed up. Many of the members had family members show up. We couldn't have been more pleased, even the weather cooperated after Les got the Brownies to shout at the clouds to go away.

Mercury was the principle attraction early in the evening. It is currently the brightest object in the night sky and even against the glow of the western sunset we had no troubles picking it out. Several meteors streaked across the sky and we saw a couple of satellites until they passed into the Earth's shadow. The next stellar attraction (literally) was M13. It is spectacular. M92 was pretty good but after M13 it wasn't until we got to M5 that there was any real competition. We covered NGC6207,

M104, M85, NGC4382, M88 and the siamese Twins NGC4567/68 along with NGC4564 all in the same eyepiece. When we looked at M57 a few seasoned viewers caught a glimpse of the central neutron star.

Seeing improved greatly as the night went on. M8 will Oxy III filters was stunning. The dark lanes and the gas swirls were crisp and well delineated. M22 was beautiful but did not respond as well to filters. M11 (called the wild duck even though it looks like a goose) was another knockout.

Joe discovered that the declination worm drive was slipping gain. He tightened the bolt/nut and established an excellent two star realignment. What used to be a major hassle has become a quick routine adjustment through experience. Les had visitors and left at 1:18 AM. He was passed by a car with two visitors at this late hour! Joe reports that the folks who stayed saw M16 and M17, the Omega Nebula (which was wonderful) and the Eagle Nebula ( which was reported as not as wonderful). The Milky Way's central star fields were glorious. The area around M24 was crisp with dark lanes standing in clear relief. Attempts to view M18 were hampered becaused M18 is so dispersed that it wouldn't fit in the eyepiece.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 26, 2000
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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