by Jason Newquist
I was the second to arrive, at around 1915, behind Nick.
Phil and Rich pulled in, along with Lee and several others of whom I have previous TACcy memory and some who I definitely hadn't met before. New faces, good times. Lots of 10" scopes! The Orion XT10 sure is popular.
A few people commented on how nice Black Bart looked and performed. He enjoyed the compliments, saucy swashbuckler that he is. Several folks marveled at how I was able to squeeze his Discovery 10" f/6 sonotube into my sport sedan. The answer is complicated, and I'd need diagrams, but needless to say the solution involves motion in all three dimensions including some serious roll, pitch, and yaw. I've been thinking of attaching gimbles to the sonotube to assist me during the procedure.
Environmental conditions at Montebello were great. Low 60's, very comfortable. (On the way downhill at midnight, temperature according to my vehicle went from 62 at the lot to 53 at the 280 onramp). Occasional breezes, but nothing serious. Sky glow was as icky in the north as I remember it, but the south was great. Too bad none of my outstanding Messier targets took advantage. I need to open up a second observing program to keep me busy as I wipe up the last 20 M's.
Speaking of which, I sopped up over a dozen, but kept getting lost in Virgo. I was attempting to use my Endund Mag 6 Atlas, but between that and my Telrad and my eyepiece, I couldn't connect the dots. As it were. At the 2230 snack break, as I was bemoaning my Virgo woes, Phil suggested a laptop as a means of producing finder/eyepiece views in real time. Makes sense... but I'm really trying to learn the ropes using paper-based materials.
I remember reading certian of Jay Freeman's observing reports which said (in extreme paraphrase) that he's in the camp which prefers to use magnifying finders, such as an 8x50, as opposed to unit finders like the Telrad. I'm beginning to see why, I think.
Other highlights included Phil and Rich locating two Messiers 108, as I recall. I'm a damn nasty eavesdropper. Is that acceptable in our hobby?
Good being under dark(er) skies again.