CalStar OR - Refractor yoga
by Stacy Jo McDermott
CalStar 2003 - Many thanks to all who made this a memorable event! It was truely wonderful and very relaxing.
The majority of my observing was to chase down M objects that I had missed previously before the summer constellations went away for a season. I had originally slated 22 objects for observing, but upon doing some research, I found that 11 of them would not be in good placement for seeing. Also, I re-observed some items that I had found previously, but did not realize it until I had returned home and found yet another set of notes from previously observing sessions! However, I do not consider it a waste of time because I was able to further hone my observing skills.
The below represent those items that I had not previously logged:
|Telescope||10mm refractor with 25mm Parks 5 element eyepiece
- M2 in Aquarius - Nice, compact globular cluster. Even brightness throughout. No detection of individual stars.
- M30 in Capricornus - compact globular cluster with bright center. Thanks to Steve Sargent who confirmed my sighting. This item took me about an hour and 1/2 to find and had to do refractor yoga with many minutes on the knees.
- M15 in Pegasus - Really liked this one. Small, compact globular cluster with a hint of halo
- M40 in Ursa Major - OK, did a bone head move. For some reason when I saw that this was a double star in Ursa Major, I automatically thought of Alcor and Mizar. So I pointed the telescope at them and logged it. It wasn't until I was talking with Jim Bartolini that I realized the errors of my ways. So on Saturday, I went to the correct location in Ursa Major and bagged M40. Pretty non-descript as far as doubles go. Pretty equal in brightness and colour. How Messier thought that people would confuse this with a possible comet is a mystery probably never to be solved. Thanks to Jim for setting me back on the correct path.
- M75 in Saggitarius - This one was a bit of a bugger to find, but I located it. It looked like a faint, fuzzy ball. This also took an half with most of that time on the knees.
- M56 in Lyra - This globular cluster had very low contrast and almost disappeared into the background of the Milky Way. It was only when I was adjusting my contact that I was able to see it pop out. Another knee buster.
I now have 32 more objects to observe toward my Messier Certificate of 110 M's.
Other items that I viewed (though this is not everything & not all in my telescope) - M42, M52, The Helix nebula, Mars, Uranus, M57, M13, M31, TR1 in Cass & the Moon.
After arriving home, I sat down to the task of condensing my notes into one central notebook and am now transfering onto one spreadsheet.
General highlights: Tranquillity Base (camp site), campsite neighbors - Jim and Steve, relaxing with the biggest task item of being "chair in shade" placement, seeing everyone, meeting new people and missing those who were not able to make it, Steve's Glen More (sp) scotch, a sip!, sleeping well, catching up on reading and being able to linger over Instyle Magazine's shoe special.
CalStar ended too fast...looking forward to next year.
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