Fiddletown 5/31

by Dennis Beckley

Last night at Fiddletown was one the best I've had in a long time. The road in is now graded and mostly pothole-free! It was just myself and two of the older regulars - Bill Cherrington and Charley Sifter - three "old farts" enjoying the universe. I hadn't seen Bill for ages and he filled me in on the recent Texas Star Party that I had to bail out of at the last minute.

The night was pleasant (light sweatshirt and kakhi's). Charley had a new 8 inch Celestron go-to scope and he was pretty much preoccupied with it ( and unusally quiet - for him) until 4:00 A.M.

I spent the early part of the night looking at a couple of comets (116P/Wild 4 and 2002 07 Linear) and a bunch of globulars and planetaries that I had seen earlier in the week from my home with the Skyquest 10 inch. No surprise that they looked much better from a dark site and with an 18 inch Obsession! I especially liked NGC 5897 and NGC 5466. I guess I just have a thing for big loose class 11 globulars that remind me of M11 or NGC 7789 OC's.

From midnight on I spent the time (a lot of time) looking at Abell Galaxy clusters 1656 and 2151. I also tried with less success to look at Abell 2065. By the time I thought of it Abell 1367 it had already set. It's fascinating to look at these collections of galaxies with high power eyepieces and platform tracking and consider the immense distances that these photons have traveled!

At 0430 I rapped it up by looking at Mars which was still relatively low down in the soup. The disk is large and I could see the polar ice cap and surface markings but I'm sure the view will get better in the next few months.

Slept for a couple of hours and headed for home just as the sun started heating up.