University Lowbrow Astronomers

Observing Report, October 4, 2000

by John Ridley
Printed in Reflections:  October, 2000.

This is my first observing report.  I’ve been sketching for a couple of years, but not really writing up a report.  I’ve been inspired by many of the reports on S.A.A., so here goes my first attempt.

It’s kind of moist, it’s first quarter moon, and thin, whispy clouds are threatening, but the kids went to bed early and I’m in the mood, so here we go.

Since this isn’t going to be either a good or a long night, I thought I’d just pick off a few more Messiers that I hadn’t gotten to yet.  With the first quarter moon, I’ll stick to a couple of easy globulars.

I set up the scope etc in the driveway in front of the house.  The neighbor’s stupid lights are shining at me, but so is the moon, so it’s not all that bad.

I pick up the S&T Messier card, pick a spot I can hit easily from the driveway, and find a few things I haven’t seen before.  Hmm, M15.

Line up the Telrad, sweep a bit, there it is.  Yuck, not many field stars.  Probably wiped out by the combination of moon and haze.  It’s a little small in the 32, I try the 15.  Fine, but no field stars to speak of.  I drop back to the 20.  I guess that will do.  Sketch it.

M2 is next, and pretty much the same story.  I wind up dropping back to the 25 to get the range of field stars I want for the sketch.

Clouds are moving in, mostly to the south, but they’re starting to get up to the zenith.

I think I’ll do a little sightseeing.  I haven’t seen the Owl cluster for months, and it’s pretty.  Hmm, now where did He put that?  As easy as this thing is to find, I still keep forgetting exactly which limb of Cass it’s off of.  I looked up NGC 457 on the S&T Caldwell card, and popped right to it.  Went ahead and drew a sketch.  It’s really pretty, and the sketch probably won’t begin to do it justice, but here it is anyway.

Finally, to close out, I thought I’d look at a nice double star, so I just picked one off the top of the DeepMap 600.  η Cass, “Gold/Purple, nice mag contrast.”  Yup, there it is, and it’s very pretty.  Glad I did that collimation earlier tonight, the fainter gold companion is a very sharp pinprick.  The brighter star is bright enough to cause some spreading, but that’s probably in my eye/glasses.

Time to pack up.  Everything is dripping with dew, and it’s getting hazy.  Besides, the dog thinks I’m nuts.

John Ridley

Here are tonight’s sketches:
M15
M2 Globular Cluster
Owl Cluster

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This page originally appeared in Reflections of the University Lowbrow Astronomers (the club newsletter).
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