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Observation Report
Carmichael, Tuesday, March 13, 2001

by: Jim Ster

To sum it up, it was a beautiful night. From my light polluted backyard in Carmichael around midnight, I took first light in 4 new eyepieces, a 31, 12, 7 and 4.8 mm., all Tele Vue Naglers. I used them in my TV-85, nicknamed "AL", on my Stellarvue equatorial mount, as there was no sense in setting up my 12" LX200 for this quick jaunt. In order to align my starbeam reflex finder, my first target of opportunity was Arcturus, also know as that "controversial" beauty, Alpha Bootes. Using the 31mm, which yields 19X in the 600 mm. f7, TV-85, the view was spectacular (taking into consideration the amount of light pollution I was dealing with). Once the starbeam was aligned, I hopped over to Mizar, the nice double in the handle of the Big Dipper, which was riding high in the north. In the 31 mm., there just wasn't enough magnification to split them this evening, but the 12 mm. did it with ease. The 7 and 4.8 mm just made things better. Crisp, clear views, pinpoint stars and edge to edge sharpness. Just above the trees to the north, I noticed that area of the sky where M81 and M82 are located and was curious to see if I could find them. With only a little over 3" of aperture and all the light pollution, I had very little optimism for success. I put the 31 mm back in figuring my only hope would be that I might be able to detect a smudge of M81 to guide me in. To my surprise, and using a bit of averted vision, I found the tiny smudge of M81 and centered it in the 4 degree field of view. I then popped in the 12 mm. and low and behold, both M81 and it disturbed neighbor, M82, were both there in my field of view! Wow. I had only hoped I would be this lucky. Scored again!

So, what did you do last night? ;)

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