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Late 4th observing

Have been shut out this dark window, but it seems Friday night may be very clear. So I'm looking at a run up to Ds-2.

Anyone else?

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Late 4th observing

I just might join ya Karl.



I may also join you, Karl, but I probably won't be bringing a telescope. I had the plate removed from my right shoulder on June 18th and no longer have to wear a sling at this point but I'm supposed to take it easy with my right arm for a couple of weeks.


Sic itur ad astra!

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

Sounds good Dave and as of

Sounds good Dave and as of 1:30pm I'm still planning on heading up to Ds-2. Will be a busy 3.5 to 4 hours observing. Have 3 scopes loaded (Galaxy Logging).

Speaking of Galaxy Log, you'll see changes for the July 2014. The galaxy images will be seen in what I am calling Galaxy Log NearView.

Hoping for a good night.

Galaxy Log


In case you haven't heard Astronomy magazine is shutting down the forums as of July 8th.


Sic itur ad astra!

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

I wish I could join you guys...

... but I'm already committed to a outreach event at the Woodside Creamery in Hockessin, DE.
Telescopes and ice cream, everyone's favorite combination. Smile
Have a great night.

Embrace the night,
Defy the mosquitoes.

Unless I peter out later today...

... I'm planning on a late run to either Coyle Filed or BMVO. Figure arrive about 10, be set up by 11PM. Observe 'til about 4AM.
Coyle is 45 minutes closer but if no company, I don't want to be there alone, so BMVO is possible but I'm reluctant to do so for such a short night.

Embrace the night,
Defy the mosquitoes.

July 4th Fireworks!

Last night Karl, Chriss, Dan (the Prez), Dave (crippled but healing... finally) Mara (Dave's wife, G#d bless her!), Josh ("... you're using the wrong tense, I already thought about a bigger 'scope") and yours truly enjoy a crisp, chilly and wonderfully transparent night with some nice cool dry air. The seeing was remarkably good despite the CSC predictions. Arrival for me was about 11:15 PM and we departed close to 4:45AM.

The VOTN was Dave's suggested "Fireworks Galaxy", NGC 6946. The Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) in Cygnus has had an unprecedented 9 supernova within the last hundred years! A nice view was had with my 180mm f/6 APM Deluxe Achro with the 17mm Ethos the FOV included the nearby OC NGC 6939 in neighboring Cepheus. A beautiful view of NGC 40, also in Cepheus was had with my 3.5mm Delos at 300x (Dan was also playing power games with his 6" Celestron Achro on the Little Gem PN in Sgr, NGC 6818, resolving it nicely with a hint of color.) Nice richest-field views were had of the Eagle, Swan, M71, The Double Cluster, Stock 2, Caroline's Rose ( using 17 - 41mm fL EPs variously).

The Veil blew me away with my 41Pan (26x) and 30mm Leitz Planokular (36x) and a TV OIII, the detail of the eastern Bridal Veil and western bristles of the Witch's Broom about 52 Cyg were easily teased about.

Some gentle "joshing" occurred when my SkyCommander took me to M101 instead of M102 (NGC 5866)! I couldn't understand why I was seeing a face on spiral instead of the "Spindle Galaxy", an appellation it shares with another "spindle", NGC 3115 in Sextans.

Once sorted out it this lenticular, S0 galaxy was easy to observe; with my 6mm Delos (180x) I described it as " Spindle shaped object brighter toward the SE direction, sits equidistant between two 8-9th mag bright field stars. Galaxy forms a squat isosceles triangle with two very faint field stars." The debates, controversy and arguments about what is M102 are best reserved for "cloudy nights".

Some other objects swept up at low powers include M103 with the nearby OCs Trumpler 1, NGC 663, 654 and 659.

NGC 7331 and one companion NGC 7335 were seen with the 4.7m Ethos (230x). After observing NCG 7332 and 7339, I incorrectly entered into the SkyCommander that nifty barred spiral in Pegusus, NGC 7479, then had Karl describe the "hook" off the bar while actually observing NGC 7332 and mis identifying NGC 7339 as the bar! "KAR", duh, not always! Josh straightened us out instantly and asked why we were still observing 7332/7339? When I cleaned up my act, NGC 7479 was easy as was the longer fainter arm of the spiral curving around that field star.

Last object was M27 with the 3.7 Ethos (291x), the central star winking in and out.

A spectacular July 4th! Celestial Fireworks for All!

Inside: looking down and looking up; outside only UP! Observe Galaxies and Eat More Fiber and always have an extra Star Diagonal handy!

Fireworks But No Firecracker

It was great to see the Fireworks Galaxy, NGC 6946, through the 180mm APM but I didn't think about observing the "explosive" globular cluster M80 until it was too late to see it!

I really have to give kudos to Maura for coming along last night. It was the first time that she's accompanied me to a dark site in many years.


Sic itur ad astra!

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

Okay... Okay wrong, but I was

Okay... Okay wrong, but I was a bit more pre-occupied then usual with 6 galaxies needed to observe and the mount of two of the scope tube assemblies not working. In fact I felt bad that I couldn't get around more often to all the scopes.

I need to make some excuse Wink

Besides, I didn't want to make you feel bad on you 2nd mistake of the night Wink
Time also make an excuse like me Stare

Oh, and wait for "Joshy the Kid" is pushing 60, and see what mistakes he makes. Though I guess by then he'll be pretty busy pushing us around in our wheelchairs from scope to scope and making sure our observing hoods aren't on backwards!

Anyway, it was a great short night I think Quest


I was hoping to join you guys but I didn't get home until 11:30 PM after fireworks in Skippack!! Glad you guys got some views.

Here's an Observing Report that I've Posted

My wife and I traveled to a "local" dark sky site on Friday night. This particular site is about an hour's drive distant. It's located near the summit of the Blue Mountain and offers some shelter from the wind and sixth magnitude skies. As a result of its wind-sheltering properties, the horizons are somewhat compromised.

I was rather surprised that Maura wanted to come along, as she hasn't accompanied me on a one-night run to a dark site in many years. We arrived at approximately 11:30 p.m. EDT and departed around 3:40 a.m. EDT. Four fellow CAS members were already present and one showed up after we got there.

The transparency wasn't quite the best but was good enough that I had no complaints. The summer Milky Way was plainly visible. The seeing was better than the CSC had predicted but the wind never died down to the degree that some of the forecasts had indicated. The result was a drastic change from the sweltering heat and humidity of a couple nights prior. I wore boots and insulated socks, jeans and sweat pants, and two jackets.

I didn't bring one of my telescopes along due to my still-healing right shoulder but I had two binoculars. During the course of the night, I observed the following deep-sky objects through the 10x50s and 15x70s: M3, M4, M6, M7, M8, M11, M13, M15, M22, M23, M24, M25, M31, M33, M39, M52, M103, NGC 457, NGC 869 and NGC 884 (the Double Cluster), NGC 6936, NGC 6949, NGC 7789, Collinder 399 (the Coathanger), LDN 42 and 1773 (the Pipe Nebula), Stephenson 1, and Stock 2 (the Muscleman Cluster).

For those of you who aren't familiar with the open cluster Stephenson 1, there's a sketch posted at

The telescopes that I had occasion to use were a 102mm Celestron Omni XLT 102 achromatic refractor, a 6" (150mm) Celestron achromatic refractor, a 180mm APM Deluxe Achro achromatic refractor, a 10" Meade Dob, a 12.5" ATM Dob, and the big gun, a 25" Obsession Dob. Some of the DSOs seen through those telescopes included M11, M13, M16, M17, M27, M57, M101, M102 (NGC 5866), NGC 40, NGC 457, NGC 6207, NGC 6675, NGC 6818, NGC 6960, NGC 6992-5, NGC 7009, NGC 7331, NGC 7332, NGC 7335, NGC 7339, Stock 2, and Trumpler 1.

The 180mm APM refractor provided some excellent widefield views of objects such as the open cluster NGC 6939 and the face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6946 (the Fireworks Galaxy) simultaneously with a 17mm Tele Vue Ethos, the Cygnus Loop, the Double Cluster, and Stock 2.

It was quite fitting, of course, to see the Fireworks Galaxy, which I had requested, through the big achromat. NGC 6946 has been the host galaxy for nine supernovae in the past 100 or so years, hence the nickname.

Unfortunately, I didn't think about observing the "explosive" globular cluster M80 until it was too late to see it so it turned out to be a fireworks but no firecracker observing session. (The opposite proved to be true the following night at the Naylor Observatory.)

What I enjoyed most while using the 180mm, however, was scanning through the Cygnus Loop or Veil Nebula complex at 36x with an OIII-filter and the magnificent 30mm 88 degree AFOV Leitz Planokular, which is my favorite low-power, widefield eyepiece. The Planokular is no longer manufactured and was extremely expensive.

The eastern segment of the Veil Nebula, NGC 6992-5, stood out remarkably well for 7.1 inches of aperture. It looked quite similar to the sketch posted at

The Double Cluster and Stock 2 were also quite impressive. The Muscleman Cluster is on the right and is "upside down" in the image at

Browse, for more on Stock 2.

I hadn't seen Trumpler 1 in quite some time. The high-power view of this odd little open cluster through the 180mm was quite pleasing.

I enjoyed observing M11 and NGC 6818 through the 6" Celestron refractor, NGC 7009 through the 10" Meade Dobsonian, and M27 and M57 through the 12.5" Dobsonian.

The 25" Obsession yielded a very fine view of the galaxies NGC 7332 and NGC 7339 in Pegasus.

Over the course of the night, I witnessed several passes of artificial satellites and two extremely bright Iridium flares within a minute or two of each other at approximately 2:58 a.m. EDT in the southeast. The brighter one was, to the best of my knowledge, Iridium 70, which reached magnitude -6.8 in Aquarius. The first flare was not listed on Heavens-Above. I also caught two rather bright meteors, one of which left a momentary train.

Sic itur ad astra!

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.