Coyote Lake last night

by Scott T. Mikusko

Shessh, what a lonely night, I was the only one there! Everyone must have went to darker and further sites. :)

I was out from about 7:30 to just before 11pm before the cold started nipping me. Observing conditions were similar to Coe, a few high clouds passing by about 9pm or so, but all in all decent sky. I spent most of the time observing objects around Orion, Gemini, and Auriga. The open clusters were really pretty last night (M35, M37 & M38). I was using my new Sky Atlas 2000 deluxe edition my wife got me for Xmas as a guide. :)

I spent some time on Jupiter and Saturn. I'd really like to get with someone that has the same aperture as me (8" SCT) and compare views of the plants. It seemed like the images I were getting last night seemed softer than I was expecting. I don't know if it was the seeing or my optics. I spent a good 10 minutes tinkering with my collimation since some stars seem to flare to the left a bit, and my secondary mirror was a slightly off. I had a little trouble seeing the Cassini division in the rings. I think my OTA was still a bit warm, though.

Tonight looks even better, but still deciding where I'd want to go...