Sunday Night at Montebello

by Peter McKone

I arrived at Montebello at 7 pm and found Michael Schwartz already set up and looking at the Sun with his Takahashi 90 plus Hydrogen Alpha filter. What a gorgeous view! Not just flares, but details on the Sun's surface that I've never seen before. Michael is looking forward to taking delivery of a 25" Dob in a few days. Who wouldn't be?!

By sunset, seven telescopes were set up, including Casey's C11, Sean's 10" (I think) Meade GPS, Marek's XT10, Walt's SCT (?), a Teleport, and my own Discovery Dob. The sky was a little darker than normal for Montebello, with no clouds or dew, but just enough breeze to turn the pages in the chart book. Seeing wasn't perfect, but it was more than good enough for observing galaxies. I tracked down eight of them from the Saguaro list, including the rather dim NGC 3184, that had eluded me at Fremont Peak on the previous night. Its magnitude is listed in TheSky as 9.8, but with a large 7 arc minute diameter, it blends well with the foreground stars.

On the way to NGC 2683 I ran across the beautiful yellow / blue Albeiro look-alike Iota Cancri. I hope I remember this when the next start party rolls around. Also got a good look at the very red star T Lyrae. "A burning ember" was Marek's apt description of this rival of Hind's Crimson Star. Another great star party target.

We packed up and left at about 12:45, an hour after the Moon rose.