Nice night at MB

by Bob Jardine

It turned out to be pretty nice at MB last night. The clouds cleared out during twilight, and it was pretty clear by the time of full darkness.

There were only three scopes (TOBY, my 10" CPT, showing off its shiny new altitude bearings, Peter with a 6" Mak, and James with a Vixen refractor). We also had a first-time visitor ... unfortunately I didn't get his name. Welcome whoever you are!)

It wasn't terribly dark, but we did have a decent view of our galaxy from Sgr/Sco up to near zenith -- it petered out after that.

We started out with the dbl-dbl. A nice clean split indicated that the seeing might be pretty good. Then we had a look at M54, because of all of the recent TAC mail on it. It is always amazing to me how late in the fall you can see this "summer" stuff.

Then I spent some time tracking down a couple of southern galaxies (in the only part of the sky at MB that you can do that on most nights). And I showed our visitor M2 and M15 and a couple of other pieces of eye candy.

Next I tracked down 2 Pallas. It was at opposition a few days ago. Binocular, but just barely. It wasn't really up high enough to get out of the Eastern light dome, but I was afraid if I waited too long, moonlight would interfere. I'm tracking Pallas over a couple of weeks as part of the Astro. League Planetary project.

The seeing was quite good. Some of the best views of Mars I've had all season, even in its current puny state. Hellas (I think it was Hellas) showed up nicely, occasionally; it came and went, periodically snapping into clear view. The SPC was still hanging in there; small but not gone yet. And then there was the dark areas, whose shape modesty forbids me to mention.

The great obliterator showed up around 10:00. I left around 11:00, not because of that so much, but because of work the next day. James and Peter were still going at it.

As Jamie sez, "More of this!". OK. Saturday night...

Joe Bob sez, "Get out there and check it out!"