Brief OR from FP

by Peter J McKone


I may have left Fremont Peak prematurely last night, when the second wave of clouds came through, around 10:30. The finder was getting moist and a big puff of wind reoriented my telescope, so I decided to pack up. By the time all the gear was safe in my car, the sky cleared again. The temperature was 40.

The highlight of the night for me was seeing the second brightest star, Canopus. I think Peter Natscher was the first to spot in binoculars. The time was 9:30, and clouds were starting to clear from the southern horizon, when I mentioned to Richard Crisp that I was hoping to see this star. He pointed his go-to telescope at it, and told me it was just behind the hill on the horizon. We walked up the hill from the observatory and saw Canopus just above a large tree. It was the only star visible at that low altitude.

My first target of the night was NGC 1232, which is a large dim oval-shaped galaxy in Eridanus. Bob Jardine pointed out NGC 1360, a large dim planetary nebula with a prominent central star, just to the south of where I had been looking. This nice object should be on more people's lists. I also tracked down two of M31's companions, NGC 185 (fairly easy) and NGC 147 (averted vision). Finally, looked at NGC 1023, a big bright galaxy 5 southwest of Algol. This is how God intended galaxies to look!

I'm thinking about Montebello tonight. Is anyone else interested? If so, I'll phone the ranger before 3 pm