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Observation Report
Fiddletown, Saturday, April 21, 2001

by: Allan Keller

On the way up to the Fiddletown site, I missed the last turn off of the main road. Before I realized I had missed the turn, I had traveled about a half mile further up the and was surprised to find some snow on the sides of the road. It had obviously not gotten warm enough that day to melt snow, let alone dry out the ground. Needless to say, Saturday night at Fiddletown was wet. Really wet! Dew covering everything that wasn't covered by something else. I am really glad I brought my 12 volt hair dryer and portable battery. Seeing conditions were soft, no doubt caused by the 95% humidity.

I was the last to arrive at about 6:30pm. Steve Gottlieb, Ray Cash, Dennis Beckley, Jane Smith and Randy Muller were already set up. A frisky black and white cat joined us and started by stealing the tomato out of Steve Gottlieb's sandwich. It then kept itself amused by attacking the numerous wires hanging from Dennis Beckley's Dob.

Dennis had brought a new eyepiece that he was excited about using that evening, but he found that his 18" Dob did not have enough focus in-travel for the eyepiece. Unfortunately, he would not be able to use his new eyepiece until he shortened the truss tubes on his scope. Fortunately for me the eyepiece did come to focus on my 17.5" AstroSystems TeleKit and Dennis told me that I could use the eyepiece, a Tele Vue 31mm Nagler Type 5, for the rest of the night. I found very little to complain about after that!

Jane's new 12.5" scope is a real jewel. I enjoyed hearing her delight as she tried out different eyepieces and tracked down each new object .

Ray was busy splitting doubles with his excellent refractors. Steve would occasionally announce items that he had located.

Randy Muller was curiously quiet this evening. Must have something to do with his new haircut.

I spent most of my evening cruising through galaxy fields around Virgo with the 31mm Nagler Type 5. This eyepiece is extremely well corrected, even without using my Tunable Top Paracorr. Seeing how many galaxies I could identify in a single view with such a sharp, low power, wide (1.28 degree) field of view was great fun.

-Allan

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