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Observation Report
Blue Canyon - HGO, Saturday, May 19, 2001

by: Mike Conley

Well I finally got a chance to view from the dark skies of Blue Canyon and it was AWESOME!!! Even though the more experienced veterans said it was not a great night to me it was an experience to remember forever.

Everyone was very helpful and friendly and the view was so spectacular that I forgot where to look first. After I set up the telescope I just stood there for a while looking at the sky seeing more than I ever imagined possible. It took some effort just to keep track of where the constellations were because so many stars camouflaged them.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my laptop set to full dim and in red mode for night viewing still put off so much light that even hiding behind my car off to the side of the group still put up a glow like a small city in the distance. When Jim walked by I closed the laptop to about a half an inch and as we were talking the sleep mode kicked in and we both wondered why it suddenly seemed so much darker. We both laughed when we realized it was the laptop and it went back into the car for the night.

Randy Mueller helped me a great deal with finding targets of interest and sharing a view in his 18” light bucket.

My viewing plans went out the window as the target rich environment presented so many opportunities I just jumped all around. Next time I will have a revised plan of what to look for. From viewing in Roseville I thought the best I could do with my 8” f/6 dobsonian was mag 8 messier’s and little higher if the object was very compact. After tonight 11+ mag objects are now on the list to find which makes for a much bigger list.

Viewing;
Equipment:
8’ f/6 dobsonian mount (Orion XT8)
EP’s 32mm Plossel, 21mm, 10mm and 7mm Siebert.
Special thanks to Jim for letting me take a look through his most impressive Nagglers.

M13 - It was quite dazzling compared to previous viewings. The web page for Obsession telescopes shows a comparison of views for M13 http://www.globaldialog.com/~obsessiontscp/m13page.html and in Roseville’s best nights I could see a little better than the “typical 8”. That night I saw an image more like the 18” and Randy’s 18” at least as good as the 25” so I can only imagine how it would look through those giant light buckets.

M51 – It was fantastic and I could just make out some detail of the spiral arms. The size difference between M51 and NGC5195 was much more pronounced than previous viewings and did not require averted vision to see.

M65, 66 and NGC3628 - With my 21mm (57x) I was able to view all 3 of these in one view and they revealed their distinct shape but not much more.

M81 and 82 – On one of Roseville’s better nights I was able to just see these two so I wondered what they would look like here. They were actually BRIGHT! I will be coming back to this place to search for more detail. The main thing I recall is how bright they appeared.

M108 and 97 – These were two objects I decided belonged to the larger aperture telescopes but tonight they were mine J, While looking for M97 I found an elongated object that Randy explained was M108 and he encouraged me to keep looking which I did and quickly found. M97. I could not see the eyes but I was very pleased at this result and then decided my search list for future viewing sessions would have to be completely revised.

M4 – This was a difficult to see item from my front yard but I could see it here in binoculars and through my telescope looked as bright as M13 did in Roseville.

Mars – It was very bright but the seeing prevented using high power to see clearly. I guess those veterans were right but while the photons were not as organized as they should be there were so plentiful I had to catch as many as I could.

M8 – To view this one I used to just find Mars and then move left and down a little. When I looked at Mars to estimate where to aim my telrad I actually saw it! It was amazing to realize how many of those fuzzy spots in the sky were actually Messiers. The cloud was many times bigger than ever seen before and in two parts.

M20 – I was able to see its nebulosity for the first time and was able to see there were actually two areas. In primary it was easy to see the detail of darker regions.

M17 – The details of this nebula was very pronounced and I was pleased to view this one through several higher power telescopes as well.

M27 – After a wonderful view of this through Jim’s telescope and with help from Randy I was able to view the Dumbbell nebula for the first time through my telescope. It was very impressive and it was easy to see it’s shape without averted vision.

M29 – This open cluster has been a benchmark for me to gauge the max magnitude I can see with my telescope. Tonight I saw many more stars in the cooling tower indicating approximately mag 13 viewing.

Wandering around Coma Berenicies – I always wanted to view this area but In Roseville it is usually in the worst part of sky glow when available to view. This time there were fuzzy objects everywhere and at one time I had 3 major fuzzies in one view. I will definitely be back here with charts to determine who is who.

Meteors – There were numerous meteors that night. Between my own observations and the “did you see that” comments that there must have been more than 50 with some very bright.

What a great experience I had that night! I know I’ve missed reporting many things I saw but next time I will have the laptop mods to record everything as it happens.

Clear Skies,
Mike

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