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Observation Report
Monitor Pass, Thursday, April 22, 2001

by: Shneor Sherman


The auguries were all good - Starcast had Monitor Pass in the "best" viewing area Saturday night, though I noticed the predicted visibility droped from 14 miles to 10 miles on Accuweather. No clouds anywhere nearby, according to the satellite photos. I left my house at 3:05 and arrived at Monitor Pass at 5:40, after a scenic drive on 88. There was a bit of wind, but not very much as I set up my 18" dob and tent. Bruce Berke arrived with his 10" Meade LX200 about an hour and a half later, and shortly thereafter Mike from Tahoe arrrived with his friends and family as well as a 3" short tube refractor.

The skies looked excellent in the afternoon, but at dusk, I detected significant moisture above. Nevertheless, the showpiece objects were on parade for the next few hours: M57, M27, the Veil, Lagoon, Swan, M81/82, M22, the Trifid, etc. Transparency was 6/10 for most of the sky, seeing was 7 or 8/10. During the evening, at my suggestion, Mike borrowed a 1.25" filter from Bruce, and placed it a wide-field eyepiece, hoping to see the entire Veil nebula inone field. The view was spectacular, although only NGC6960 and NGC6962-5 (the two brightest sides) were visible. I had a pretty good view of NGC4236 in Draco, visible diredctly, but with a bit of detail using averted vision, a very elongated but faint galaxy, which appeared to have a dust lane along one edge. Also in Draco, I viewed NCG5985/82/81, a nice set of three galaxies, one face-on, one about 3/4 and the last edge-on. In Hercules, I viewed a couple of galaxies in Abell 2151, notably NCG6040A, which appeared diffuse and irregular, and IC1170. Bruce had Comet LInear in view, and checking his Telrad, I soon looked at the comet in my telescope. Still quite bright but with no tail, it could be mistaken for a large, bright galaxy.

The night, BTW, had become quite cold, probably in the low 30s. Bruce went into his van to warm up, but when he came out he found frost on his table. My eyepieces were dewing up as well, so I began packing at 2:30 and got to bed about 3:30, while Bruce continued observing.

I had some fine views with a new (to me) 27mm military surplus eyepiece, which had been described as similar to the Panoptic, but with a field 10 degrees wider. Very flat field, quite bright with very good contrast. A nice eyepiece indeed.

Clear skies,
Shneor Sherman

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