[AZ-Observing] It ain't Sentinel, But I'll take what I can get

  • From: SaguaroAstro@xxxxxxx
  • To: AZ-Observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 02:16:15 EST

Well, it turns out I had way too much to do around the house this weekend,  
so enjoying the night out at Sentinel was, unfortunately for me, not in the  
cards. However, being Photon deprived and inspired by Tom's reports on Comet  
Machholz, I ventured into the backyard with Polly (the ETX 60). Brought a small 
 
list of objets on the SAC Urban list to work on plus the comet. 
 
First up was NGC 1907, the small cluster to the south of M38. At 39x it  
showed as an unresolved patch near M38, which was at the edge of the 68' FOV. A 
 
small triangle of stars pointed right at it. to the East & west were two  
doubles, surprisingly both of which resolved using averted vision. Upon further 
 
review, the doubles were identified in SkyMap as STF 705 to the West & LY  
Aurigae to the East.
 
M79 was next and it was actually pretty tough. Consider from my backyard in  
northern Glendale it was pretty low and straight into the thickest part of  
Aurora Phoenicia. There are also two Street light from the Loop 101 on either  
side of were it was. It took averted vision to see it and again it was merely 
an  unresolved fuzzy patch of sky. At 58x the sky darkened enough to say, yep,  
that's a globular cluster allright, but not much else. 
 
Stock 2 in Cas was the best of the DSO's I looked at tonight. a  39x the 68' 
FOV is large enough to get the whole cluster. There were many  chains of 
stars, the most noticeable was pretty much in the center and seemed to  me to 
form 
a cross. The stars were all pretty much the same magnitude  (which I'd guess 
about 8th mag, but don't take my word for it, I'm horrible at  guessing 
magnitude) . I counted about 40 stars within the cluster.  There were several 
bright 
stars surrounding the cluster on all sides. This one  was worth the look.
 
The true highlight of the night, however was Machholz. At 17x, it was a  
stellar like point of light framed within a small triangle of stars. Bumping up 
 
to 39x, brought out the coma, which was pretty bright. Although I won't say I  
saw any tail, the coma did seem to be more elongated to the Northeast. At 58x, 
 the contrast improved dramatically and again the coma was much more well  
defined with a definite elongation to the NE. This view certainly  has me 
anticipating observing this comet under dark skies.
 
As I said, it wasn't Sentinel, But it was better than doing nothing. Hope  
those out at Sentinel had a good time, I await their reports.
 
Clear Skies
Rick Tejera
Editor SACnews
Saguaro  Astronomy Club
Phoenix,  Arizona
SaguaroAstro@xxxxxxx
www.saguaroastro.org

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