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Observation Report
Alexandra, New Zealand, Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Southern Skies With Telescope - First Light

by: Shneor Sherman

This has to be short, I will expand later.

My airline-transportable 13.1" has the potential to be a _great_telescope. I drove out to the airport last night about 5:30 (arrived at 5:35) and was set up and ready to go by 6. There were intermittant high clouds, but I'm used to that...I intended to look at objects in Vela and Carina, but the showpiece objects seduced me. What can you do when the Larger Magellanic Cloud beckons???

I popped my 30mm Widescan into the (junky) focuser, and the Tarantula Nebula leaped into view, with 4 other nebulae to the right in the field of view (about 100 arcminutes true field). Magnificent is the only word for it. I won't say it puts M42 top shame, but it tends in that direction. Bright core, extensions, dark areas, and many other nearby objects (globulars and nebulae) nearby. Impressive detail visible. Tried my 13mm Nagler, could not get good focus (collimation - the focuser). But with my visual paracorr, the view improved. Looked at 47 Tucanae near the SMC, Bright core, extensions , very beautiful.

Did look at NGC2808 in Carina, very pretty globular, also with bright compact central core. Omega Centauri, very large, no distinct core, looked like hundreds of more or less even luminosity stars resolved. Checked out some other items depending on what part of the sky was clear.

Mars was a bust (collimation again). About 11:10, focuser broke, but a fellow observer will fix it this afternoon. There's so much to see, and I feel like a kid who just inherited a candy store. I did use the tape recorder, but have not checked it yet.

Clear skies,

BTW - this comes to you via the Alexandra Public LIbrary, internet connection over a dialup is about $3 an hour.

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