Backyard OR-fu

by Jamie Dillon

I'd called the head mahout for streetlights in Salinas about getting our nearest lights shielded. He politely laughed. "Less light?!"

So anyway, today I made up a simple light shield for the light on the street behind ours, an old piece of ply attached to our back fence, up a couple of feet above the top of the fence. Freed up the middle of the yard for observing, with a big patch of sky. Cool! Felix the 11" came out of the garage to check it out. Dragged Liam and Jo out as well to gawk at Mars. Sure enough, the Polar Cap Remnant was bright, and there was Syrtus Major, Everitt's Dog Biscuit.

Seeing was 3/5, so to compensate them for coming outside, I showed Jo and Liam M15, gorgeous as usual. Jo did an intake of breath and said, "Now that's really beautiful. How many stars are in there after all?" (Couple hundred thousand, easy.) Liam stayed to look at the Double Cluster, eta Cas and gamma And. He always loves looking at the Moon as well.

This is good. Now there are two spots in the backyard that are handy for observing. Plus there's this lot at the trailhead at the Peak that's beckoning for Saturday night.

And in other observing news, I'd downloaded Kingsley's reference, Harris' list of Milky Way globulars, at Real handy list, has every piece of info you could want. Turns out I have 13 NGC globulars to go north of -40 dec. Yowza. 3 more Palomars that look likely as well, to add to Pal 8 and 11.