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Log, Jul 7, 2000

68+ people. We had at least 68 names but some of them were written as the "Jones Family" without any indication as to how many folks were in the "Jones Family". I think we were closer to 80 viewers. We had a troop of scouts visit us this week.

With the Moon up we had an obvious target well before sunset. Competing with the Moon were some of the most magnificent clouds I have seen anywhere, even out west. We frequently evacuated the dome so that everyone could oooh and aaah at the most beautiful shades. However, even these few clouds soon rolled to the south and east leaving us with only flashes from a distant and active thunderstorm. To our north west the Big Apple Circus was entertaining patrons. Luckily, their lights did not make the sky noticeably brighter than the Moon.

After the Moon, Joe targeted Albireo, the Ring [M57] and the Dumbbell [M76] while Les star hopped outside the dome. Very few visiting telescopes were set up since most of our regulars and semi regulars don't expect much deep space viewing with the Moon and a Circus attending.

We tried for Linear 1999 S4 early, but it was lost in the dense air over Narragansett. We decided to try for the Cat's Eye Nebula [NGC6543] as a crowd pleaser. Since everyone wants to see planets, we displayed Neptune but I'm afraid that competition from moonlight made it very pale and washed out and barely discernible as a disk.

Heading for Sagittarius and Scorpio, we trotted out the glorious globular M22. We were soon comparing it to the Lagoon [M8] and the Triffid [M20]. Some young folks who had joined us after the Circus closed wanted to see the Moon so we turned back there for a bit. Les had been going on all night about the Milky Way feasting on the stars of the small Sagittarius galaxy with which we are colliding. One groups of stars torn from the hapless Sagittarius Galaxy is a small globular cluster near the base of the Teapot [M54].

Joe had planned to leave early so Les decided to trot out Linear 1999 S4. Several people claim to have heard the sounds of Joe's heels as he made a U-turn back to the dome. Given the poor performance of my ears, I can only guess they may be right, but I did find skid marks on the pavement when we turned on the white lights at closing time. We all agreed that Linear was brighter than last week.

Unlike the last two weeks at Frosty Drew Observatory, we closed up relatively early.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jul 7, 2000
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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