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Observation Report
Fiddletown, Monday, March 26, 2001

by: Matt Tarlach

Jim Ster and I went, arriving a little after sunset. I stuck with my plan to bring just the 80mm Short Tube and my binos, leaving Jim's 12" as the "big iron."

I too saw the clouds as I was leaving Carmichael around 5:30.....if I had looked up before packing the truck I might have wimped out. As it turned out the skies were obvious cloud cover between civil twilight and around midnight, and intervals of pretty dark skies between periods of clear "grayness." I suspect there were thin high clouds passing overhead throughout the night.

I still had a great time, as for various reasons this was my first night out in several months. I revisited some favorite Messiers, then brought out the charts to hunt galaxies in Leo. Some very nice groupings there, and I was favored by one of the intervals of good transparency as I was working the area. After Leo I scanned casually across the Virgo cluster, checked out some of the big summer globs rising in the East, and happily shared the views that Jim generously offered through his scopes. Also had some good chat with Jim about the state of the SVAS, summer star party plans, and etc. It was great to finally meet Jim, who is practically a neighbor, after only reading his posts and passing like ships in the night at SVAS events for the past year.

A little after midnight the sky deteriorated further and I gave up on the clearing that had been promised by Starcast. I packed up and waited until near 1 Am only to try and glimpse Omega Centauri culminating in the south. Alas, the soup was just too thick down there, and I struck out on that glorious globular.

All in all a satisfying night for me, being the first chance I've had at dark skies in quite a while.

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