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Observation Report
Fiddletown, Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Relishing Our Good Fortune

by: Randy Muller

Paul LeFevre wrote:

And relish in your good's still raining cats & dogs down here, almost lost power a few minutes ago due to lightning strike. So get your scopes and go outside already!!! Wish I could ...

TAC-SAC members Allan Keller, Jim Ster and I did just that last night at Fiddletown. It was a classic TAC-SAC happenin' with all the camaraderie and equipment and, best of all, fabulously clear dark skies and no dew. That's right: NO DEW.

Fiddletown is about a 90 minute drive for each of us and we typically don't go such distances on worknights to get observing time, but the weather wiped out both the 3rd Q and new moon observing weekends, so these were desperate times. And desperate times call for desperate measures.

Too bad we had to leave early (at 2am), because we were all going strong, and nobody was tired and we was havin' a great time seeing lots of Cool Stuff.

I observed 4 Hickson groups (limited only by the narrow time limits imposed by the bright and beautiful crescent moon and having to work today) with my 18" Starmaster, as well as a number of other nearby galaxies and assorted other objects from another observing program.

Towards the end of the evening Jim was touring Virgo with his 12" LX200 in the course of his rundown of Herschel 400 objects, and hit NGC 4xxx (someone will supply the ID when they wake up this morning) near M61, and discovered 5 other bright galaxies in a truly eye-popping field.

We all took a look at it, and it is just an amazing field of bright Messier-type galaxies. In fact, nearby there was a deep blue and orange double star decorating the galaxy field.

As they were calming down after studying this for quite a while, I casually mentioned Markarian's Chain (hey, they were already in the neighborhood), and off they went to blow their minds some more.

This time we were looking at the field surrounding M84 and M87 and had nine galaxies in the FOV, with dozens more just outside.

What a dazzling way to end a truly wonderful night!

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