Sat 2/22/03 Lake Sonoma

by Matthew Marcus

As previously reported, we had a good crowd at Grey Pine. The scopes were almost size-sorted, with a 5" at one end and some big dobs at the other. Early on, there was some mumbling about seeing and moisture, especially as contrails seemed to last forever, but the sky was better than expected. Our first hint of this was a look at Jupiter before it got properly dark. Although low, it showed some detail. By the end of the night, I was getting the GRS with some detail inside it and a white feature next to it, using an H-beta filter at 250x on my C8. The H-beta has a passband in the red, so the image was an interesting mix of salmon and red-ocher colors. It was also dim enough to be pleasant. The same filter worked well on Saturn, which showed the Crepe Ring, the Encke Whatsit, several moons, polar darkening, two bands, and the shadow of the planet on the rings. Very nice.

When it finally got dark, somebody mentioned the Rosette, which was pretty easy. This suggested that the transparency was good as well as the seeing. I noticed that the Flame was obvious, so later on I went for and found the Horsehead using an H-beta filter.

I was in Orion because somebody suggested M78, which I always forget to look at. Quite a nice reflection nebula. I noticed that the N edge had a sharp cutoff, whereas the nebula fades off to the S. Nearby are the RNs 2071 and 2064. While on the subject of Orion RN, I went to 1999. As previously posted, Steve showed off the dark splotch next to the star. Having seen it in the big scope, I found the same splotch in my little C8. Nearby, Steve showed off two Herbig-Haro objects, stars just about to turn on. Like quasars, these objects are unimpressive unless you know what they are, then they become pretty interesting.

Following Steve's lead again, I went for B35, a dark neb in Orion, within which the variable star FU Orionis lights up a small EN, Ced59. I saw stars within the DN but didn't have a finder for which was FU. In Steve's scope, FU was clearly red. I couldn't see the RN in my scope.

Orion's Head (Cr69) is a large (naked-eye) OC which is splashy enough that even Richard Navarette might like it :-) I've seen it zillions of times but never logged it till now. Collinder seems to have made a career out of spotting OCs so large nobody else thought to see if they were OCs.

Going down the list in NSOG, I hit two more RNs, IC432 and IC435. Both are small round glows around stars.

Moving into Monoceros, I spotted Hubble's Variable Nebula, a tiny fan with a star at its handle, and went for the Cone. I thought I saw it, but couldn't get confirmation, so I didn't log it.

I finished out the night looking at galaxies in Leo, catching 2903, 3098 (a small edge-on), and , as the moon was coming up, 3162 (round blob). I followed my tradition by being last out.