Friday, November 13, 1998

Nice Night

Yes, from twilight until I left Houge Park after 11, Saturn and Jupiter looked very nice. The GRS was as obvious as I've ever seen it, maybe even more, as it spun around the disk over a few hours. There appeared to be several good festoons hanging off the NEB into the equatorial zone. The definition of the zones and belts was quite good, and the planet had very nice color. Saturn was beautiful, with a wonder gold-cream color, easy to see zones, Cassini's Division was obvious enough to drive a Suburban through. I think the best views were with a Meade 10.5mm and Nagler 9mm. We tried a Takahasi 7mm LE, but it was a bit much for the seeing. This was in my 10" f/5.6 Dob.

Knowing to not expect dark sky quality, I put M15 in the 10" and was nicely surprised by the cluster breaking up decently. Several visitors looked at it and were able to see it was a cluster, although its brightness certainly was not as good as on other occasions.

Other objects the public saw were M42 (although low, the nebula was obvious and we could, even at lower power with an 18mm eyepiece, see 5 stars in the Trapezium without trying hard), M35 (Jack Z was pulling in the more distant NGC that is the visual comapanion to M35), M31/M32, M57 (easy as ever), NGC404, NCG7331, ET Cluster, Albireo, negative results on M74 and M33. Alan Nelms then used my old "Season Star Chart" to find several nice double stars... he was knocking them out with ease.

The public at Houge Park was lots of fun. What began as a disappointing afternoon looking at the clouds and cancelling a night a Pacheco, turned into a worthwile evening with friends and visitors.

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