dob. Mark mentioned something about some galaxies in Delphinus, the Dolphin, that we ought to track down. I opened up chart 16 in Sky Atlas 2000, but there wasn't a galaxy to be found in Delphinus. But, in Uranometria 2000, there are at least a dozen! Using its detailed charts, we were able to star-hop to a few of them, some with surface brightnesses below 13 magnitudes per square arcminute. The galaxies we saw, NGCs 6927, 6928, 6930, and 6944, simply would not have been possible using Sky Atlas 2000.
Uranometria 2000 also has some other uses. Often times, after I've bagged one of my Herschel list objects, I'll notice some nearby objects on the chart that I wasn't originally looking for. I'll then take time out and look to see which of those other objects I can track down. Or, you can simply pick a chart and go for it. One night at the Texas Star Party in 1998 I started on and never left charts 193 and 194, in the heart of the Coma Berenices/Virgo galaxy cluster. I observed and logged more than fifty new galaxies (not including the usual Messiers) that night. It was galaxy-hopping at its finest!
A companion to Uranometria 2000 is the Deep Sky Field Guide to Uranometria 2000. This highly useful guide provides tabular data for virtually all the deep-sky objects found on the charts. The data is tabulated by chart number, and organized by object class (open cluster, planetary nebula, galaxy, etc.). While not purely essential for observing, it provides a wealth of information on virtually anything you want to observe.
So do you really
need Uranometria 2000? Maybe not. For one thing, it's a little pricey - about $80.00 for both volumes plus another $50.00 for the field guide. But if you're a visual observer with a moderately large scope, then it will help you discover that there is much more "out there" within the grasp of your eyes and telescope than you ever realized. I can tell you that it did for me. If you own a really big scope, say an 18-inch or larger, I would say that it is essential.
Now the question is, do I
need Millennium Star Atlas? Hmmm…

    S.M.U.R.F.S. 2001 Report
By Charlie Nielsen

At long last one of my favorite times of the year had arrived. I was ready, heavily armed and prepared for action. The star party had begun on Monday the 13th and from the forecasts I had seen for the Alpena area, the weather had been clear at night. Of course I was not going up until Wednesday. But then if there are two days of the event before my arrival they usually are clear, so all was normal.
I drove unto the hallowed ground a little after 4PM Wed. as planned. On the way up to the site I noticed increasing clouds from the Northwest on a convergent course with mine. So of course I accepted immediate responsibility upon my arrival. Not knowing how much time I had, I wasted little time in setting up tables and scopes and my tent. Within minutes of dropping protective covers on the scopes, the rain began. Since I prefer to be trapped inside my Van rather than my very small and semi-water tight tent, there I stayed, and stayed and stayed. On the plus side, I caught up on some reading, did some really thorough eyepiece and binocular cleaning, and studied some charts. After dark I found a good classical music radio station, and practiced the true art of consuming munchies and junk food. Are we having fun yet?

Charlie Neilsen at Leslie Science Center
by Mark Deprest


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