Saturday Night Tahoe

by Marsha Robinson

Well, am I glad I didn't make it to IHOP! I would have been a tad lonely. As it turned out, my granddaughter's christening turned out to be much more of a gala event at the church than I thought it would be. Jane, why do these people insist on planning their grand affairs on new moon????

When we returned to the Tahoe house, which overlooks Lake Tahoe from the West Shore (and has wonderful open skies to the east and south), it was 7pm. With the wine still in my blood, I decided not to drive to IHOP; instead I set up my scope on the top of the steep driveway. I didn't get going until late because I was showing the family a lot of the visible M's and Mars (some of the features visible and therefore impressive). The winds came and went, and the windiest times just moved my papers around if they were loose. Nothing to write home about. The seeing also came and went with the winds, but mostly very good. Transparency very decent. Temps weren't cold enough to put on gloves; comfy w/a down jacket. Logged 26++ objects in Aires and Eri. Nothing was really remarkable, but I enjoyed the galaxy clusters like the NGC 932 group, and the best, NGC 1400 group with 7 galaxies in the field of view. The waste-of-time was NGC 1240. What gives? Single star? Whoopy. Am I missing something?

I finally forced myself to turn in at 4 am PDT as Jupiter was rising and after taking a breath-taking view of M42. It was one of those skies you didn't want to take your eyes off of...even to look through your telescope.