Big fun last night on Ranger Row

by Jamie Dillon

We measured the sky at 6.0 LM, about a magnitude below what y'all were getting at Plettstone. By no means shabby, though, and the seeing was flat 5/5, crystalline. People were using all kinds of immoderate magnifications to play with Porrima.

Someone was up on Coulter, but the propane lamps at the camping area were way too bright, and we didn't go there. A nice couple of people from Oakland were trying to get a new GPS-enabled thing to work from the SW lot, and Czerwinski and I made sympathetic noises before disappearing into the dark. Kingsley was by himself in regal splendor on the Knoll, and there was a compact but jovial crew on Ranger Row. CL came by to wish us well, and Ranger Andrea hung out for a while and mooched views. Elena and Craig were there, along with Peters McKone and Natscher, Bobs Jardine, Baldwin and Czerwinski, Nathaniel and David, and Jim Everitt.

Jardine showed us exactly where Vesta was, and sure enough several of us could see it naked eye. I'd seen Vesta a couple of years before when it was sailing thru the Hyades, and seen Ceres before that, but had no idea of ever seeing an aasteroid naked eye. A real thrill. Joe Bob mentioned as how it's the 10th of 10 solar system objects we can see without optical aid. 3rd biggest of the asteroids but by far with the brightest albedo. Albedo, not libido.

Kingsley was onto a supernova on the edge of 3169 in Leo, more genuine excitement.

I got real focused on 12 galaxies in Virgo, to finish page 7 in my Dickinson atlas project. Raved some when finished. Now having spent some quality time transcribing found objects from Edmund's Mag 6 atlas onto SkyAtlas, lo and behold dudes and ducesses I found 4 more objects, all of which are thankfully in the spring sky: 1788, bright EN in western Orion, and 3 galaxies - 3631 in UMa, 5371 in CVn, and 5676 in Bootes.

Among those 12 galaxies last night are some real beauties. Fuller report to follow.

It was a great night in all, very refreshing for us all. We were grateful.

Sharp galaxies around Porrima

4666 really made an impression, a gorgeous edge-on, core concentrated and fairly bright at 126x. Like a junior version of 4565. Nice!

4697, tight swirl with big round bright core, dust lanes, looking almost face-on, slightly elongated ca 70 deg (yes!). Here I got excited because my estimation of this galaxy's PA was right on the official money. I've been practicing measuring positions for several reasons, a) keeps me looking and studying that galaxy, b) good practice for keeping track of sky motion, c) Gottlieb does it.

4762, the flattest galaxy, according to Tom Polakis as I remember, yes the very flattest edge-on visually, a sharp splinter with central bulge. Right next it, 4754, round fairly uniform disk, slightly elongated ca 30 deg.

4753, more eye candy. Compact fat swirly oval, almost stellar core, slight elongation ca 135 deg. (Here I was way off on the PA, supposed to be 80 deg. It's an irregular galaxy, so maybe I was noticing a secondary hump.)

These are all within 12 degrees of Porrima, along with crowds of other galaxies. 4536 and 4527 are also in that immediate area, the jumping-off galaxies for 3c273, brightest of the quasars and fairly easy in a lot of our scopes. Great part of the sky, where you hop with galaxies rather than stars.