Saturday Night at IHOP2

by Ray Fox

I'd just like to say a hearty thanks to the kind folks at IHOP2 last Saturday night for giving me such a warm welcome. I tagged along with Bill Chandler for some dark sky viewing and really enjoyed myself. I'd especially like to thank Greg for being so generous with his deep sky views through his magnificent scope. I was blown away by the images of M17, the Swan nebula, as well as everything else I saw through his eyepiece. Shneor's invitation to view M22 was a highlight as well. I loved the views through his bino-ep's mounted on his Dob, as they appeared nearly 3D to me. Plus, no winking eyestrain to deal with! Such a luxury. Lemme tell ya, it was difficult to return to my tiny Edmund Scientific 6" reflector. I truly appreciated the opportunity to glimpse the heavens through such grand equipment, and I thank you both. It went a long way in rekindling my enthusiasm for astronomy.

Using my own modest equipment (which Bill had helped me whip back into shape), I did manage to get some impressive views of the Andromeda galaxy as well as M24. And just as I was about to pack it in for the night around 3 a.m., Greg, precariously perched high above on his aluminum ladder, shouts out that the Orion Nebula is just emerging over the horizon! Delaying my departure a bit, I had some beautiful views of the glowing nebula as it appeared above a grove of trees.

During the course of the night, I got to try out my new Canon 10x30 Image Stabilizing binoculars on a dark sky for the first time. Wow! I was thrilled. The image stabilization is absolutely amazing, allowing for detailed viewing and easy star hopping with rock solid stability. The 30mm's may not gather as much light as the 50mm's, but their relatively light weight make for a less strenuous yet rewarding view. If you'd like to take a peek through 'em at the next star party, I'd be happy to oblige.

Returning home around 4:30, I stayed up for another hour watching the spectacular lightening show going on in what were, just moments before, clear skies. Quite a night for nocturnal eye candy.

Again, thanks for the warm welcome. Clear skies!