Observing from my back yard deck March 29-30, 2003

by Stacy Jo McDermott

Sometimes the best laid plans truely get depth charged. Such is the case for me in my intented observing plans from my back yard deck on Saturday March 29,2003.

With it being Messier Marathon time and due to my schedule, I was not able to join good folks at Coe, Lake Sonoma or Coyote, I opted to set up the 120mm refractor, Voyager, at home.  Did that in the morning before heading to the gym and work.  Between making and serving libations at the Seabowl Lounge, I went over my game plan for the evening - OK, I'm down to 40 Messier objects needed for my certificate.  (BTW, I was not going to try and get all 110...just wanted to capture those that were going away and get a a jump start on the ones in Virgo/Coma Bernices).

Managed to get very fine views of Jupiter, Saturn and M objects that I had already bagged. I was a bit more tired than I had orginally anticipated being so decided to take a quick nap. Big mistake. Did set the alarm but it's gotten to the point where I unconsciously can turn it off...which happened over the course of the night. So imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning only to realize that I missed the entire night.

However, all was not lost...the solar filter that I made for the 120mm refractor known as Voyager got first light this morning. Sunspot activity is hoppin'! I counted 33 sunspots and they are incredible. And, my homemade solar filter must be working right because I can still see...this is a good thing.

So while I didn't make any progress on the Messiers, I did finally get to see Sol through a larger aperature telescope which will make my solar observations more enjoyable.