Plettstone Pleasures and Pics

by Jane E. Smith

Saturday night found me at Plettstone, the estate of Michelle Stone in the fabulous foothills of the Sierra, about 40 miles east of Merced. Also in attendance were Jim, Brian, Mars, Mark, and TACOs Albert, Rashad, Rich x 2, and one other gentleman who's name I won't even try to spell... started with "G". Driving time was about 3 hours.

The evening started out with wispy clouds drifting through from the west, but the astrogods were kind and it cleared by 10:30pm. Our best sky was between 11pm-1am with seeing 9/10 and transparency 8/10. How nice to see the Milky Way again! Around 2am it softened up and I finally hit the sack about 3am. Temps remained in the balmy 40s and it was dry.

I spent most of the night fishing galaxies out of Coma Berinices, my first attempt at the Hershel 2500 list. The computer was a huge help, however my new screen shield needs some work. It's plenty dark, but bleeds light around the edges in a few spots, so it's back to the drawing board.

I made another failed attempt at Hickson 55 in Draco. No Luck. One of these nights I'm going to see it!

All in all a very fun night. The 3 hours of sleep in the back of my truck could have been better, but it's nothing an air mattress won't fix. :)

See images of last night in "Plettstone" directory under Photo Section of TAC-SAC egroup.