Sunday, August 23, 2009

No Need For Speed

Friday night at Plettstone was a great get together of friends that rarely get the chance to spend time with each other. I had not seen Michelle Stone in a year. Hard to believe. I think the same goes for Rashad Al-Mansour. Albert Highe reminded me that we'd seen each other at CalStar and Dinosaur Point, and I thanked him for correctly pointing out the deficiencies in my memory! I probably had not seen Carter Scholz in that long, and know I'd only met Dan Foy a handful of times previously, at most. It was a great group. Fortunately for us, the skies help up all night, and I think we all got in our fill 'o photons. I spent quite a bit of time just visiting, so my observing "count" was well down, but a big count is no longer part of my observing routine, if it happens it happens, but odds are I'm going to be taking my time now, teasing out any detail I can in some of the deeper stuff out there, and sharing views with my friends. It is very relaxing, and fun. Below, I am posting my unchecked raw observing notes. I have no idea of how accurate they are in terms of what to have expected. I am just posting my impressions.

Saturday morning I woke early, and saw scattered clouds increasing from the south. By the time Richard, Rashad and I took off together for Glacier Point in Yosemite, the sky was gone. Where the temps

in and around Mariposa had been in the high 90's the day before, temps were as low as the mid-60's up high in Yosemite. The views were gorgeous. It is as magical an experience to be there as it is to look at the wonders through an eyepiece. Upon returning, we found some of the gang gone, along with the sky. Richard Ozer had shown up, surprisingly. We had a nice pot luck BBQ with Michelle and Paul. After dinner I packed up the truck, only to find the last of the observing crew pulling up the driveway.... first timer Olga S. We took her in, introduced her to Michelle, and hit the road for home. I hear Olga was heading to Yosemite too, so I'm sure she was in for a grand treat, in addition to meeting Michelle.

The drive home was uneventful. On the other hand, the trip to Plettstone found me getting pulled over by the CHP on highway 156 just west of Casa de Fruita (before the 152 junction)... doing 69 in a 55. Amazingly, I talked my way out of the speeding ticket. It is even more amazing, since I didn't have proof of insurance (which is what he ended up writing the "fix it" ticket for - no fine if I fix it). I thanked the officer, and asked him to adjust my side-view mirror before I pulled out. He did, and wished me well. What a pleasant fellow!

Yes, it was a really good weekend....

For some fun, have a look at Richard Navarrete's video observing report from the trip. Its very well done!

Here are the targets I went after, and the raw notes...

Sh 2-113 Cyg BN 15 21 20 48 38 05 29

18" 20mm - small almost triangular area of nebulosity involving approximately 6 dim stars, points are W, NE and SE.

Abell 78 Cyg PN 113"x88" 13.4 21 35 29 31 41 45 PK 81-14.1 = PN G081.2-14.9

12mm NPB, very dim, mostly round, stars embedded, possibly annular, small with central star?

Abell 74 Vul PN 871"x791" 15.8 21 16 52 24 08 51 PK 72-17.1 = PN G072.7-17.1

12mm UHC very dim , galaxy MCG 4-50-4 misplotted in The Sky, should be closer to flat triangle of stars. Galaxy with 7mm, Planetary w/35 Panoptic responds differently to OIII and UHC. Star in middle with UHC is bright, dims out almost totally with OIII compared to other stars in field. UHC shows dim arc with dark lane, with OIII just a large mottled area.

Abell 72 Del PN 134"x121" 12.7 20 50 02 13 33 28 PK 59-18.1 = PN G059.7-18.7

7mm OIII does not respond with UHC. Large, dim rounds, western edge shows best, possible brighter spots in W and S.

Abell 76 Aqr PN 0.4x0.2 21 30 03 -02 48 32 PK 5-036.1 = PGC 85185
No image available: 7mm OIII round, even brightness across the disk, central star. Dim.
*Note, this is listed as a ring galaxy, which I learned after returning from the trip.

Hickson 89 Aqr GX4 0.9'x0.6' 14.4 21 20 01 -03 55 20 MCG -01-54-012 66570

5mm Navarrete scope on platform. 89D occasional split off C, others not that difficult.

Hickson 78 Dra GX4 1.4'x0.6' 14.9 15 47 16 68 13 14 UGC 10057

7mm - definite sighting 2 galaxies dim but certain direct vision, preceding is NW/SE elongation with a tiny stellar nucleus and is smaller than the trailing galaxy, which is larger, almost even in surface brightness, E/W, averted gives very occasional glimpse of stellar nucleus.

Photos and drawings are culled from sources publicly available on the Internet - usually linked to the original. Star party photo
Copyright (C) 2008 by Randy Muller.


Bruce Jensen said...

Hi, Mark - this is a brilliant website, great work! Wonderful sentiments, wonderful accounts, and wonderful people. Hope to get a chance to examine it a lot over the next few weeks...thanks!

Your friend,

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