Montebello Sunday night

by Andrew Pierce

Stop me if you've heard this before... I was there. Where were you?

I wanted to see Encke's comet. I didn't find out that everyone who posted an OI for tonight was standing down until I arrived around 6:30 p.m. to a deserted lot. Sure there were clouds but I could see all the stars I can see from my front yard, so I figured my Teleport could punch through the clouds and get the comet. And it did.

By 7:00 it was clear to the south and by 8:00 it was clear overhead and the Milky Way was quite distinct. I picked up four new objects tonight, three galaxies in Aquarius NGC 7392, 7585 and 7721. The last was best, a nice elongated ghost. Speaking of ghosts I also took a look at the Helix nebula and got a nice view with an OIII and a 17 mm eyepiece. Mars and M15 were also seen and a new cluster in Perseus, NGC 1545, which is very rich and pretty.

The comet looked best after it cleared, and it was much improved by a Lumicon Swan Band filter. It was fairly round, moderately bright in the 14.5 inch scope, and cloudy looking, without a distinct coma, unlike the fan shaped view I got from Palo Alto the night before. I think if you see more the shape is more nebulous, sort of like M27 in that regard.

Temperature 45 degrees, no wind, seeing average. You shoulda been there.