At 09:13 PM 12/22/2001, you wrote: >Sad to admit, my enthusiasm for Sunglow has waned over the past year. I >suppose cloudy nights add to my disappointment, but as Tom mentioned, >consistent poor seeing is painful to observe through. I can only recall >three maybe four nights of quality (400-500x plus) seeing; however, three of >those four nights lasting just more than an hour's time. > >Perhaps I'm spoiled, taking our skies and weather for granted--by God, I'd >probably quit the hobby if I lived out east--yet, I take pride in saying, >seeing below 250x is worth very little of my serious time, regardless of >transparency. I think much of the "disagreement" about Sunglow, or probably anyplace else, is our varying aims and expectations. To me a night where one can use > 500x magnification is truly exceptional anywhere, and I know of no place readily accessible where that kind of seeing is the norm. Gainfully using 500x implies seeing well under one arcsecond -- very rare conditions indeed. I routinely make numerical measurements of seeing-related motion as part of the autoguiding process for astrophotography, and it's a rare night anywhere where sub-arcsecond seeing prevails for an extended period. More typical at the better sites is 1 to 2 arcseconds, a level of seeing that can be fully exploited with less than 300x. If you know of an accessible place where sub-arcsecond seeing is the norm, please pass it on, because I've not heard of it. Barring that, I think that calling anything below that level as "poor" (or "ugh" :-) ) is not a very useful standard. If we use near-perfection as the standard the almost every place on Earth is terrible and we should all just queue up to climb Mauna Kea. In Arizona, part (but not all) of the KPNO site regular offer that kind of seeing, but I don't know of any other. Also, seeing is only half the story. Because of their local climate, urban Houston, Texas, and Tampa, Florida often have superb seeing, some of the best planetary viewing to be had anywhere in North America, but for deep-sky viewing they're nearly useless. Dark, clear skies matter a great deal, and in that regard a number of places in Arizona that may not offer regular sub-arcsecond seeing nevertheless rate as excellent sites because they allow viewing of dim objects that cannot be seen as well (or at all) from sites not as dark and/or transparent. Aside: The absolute best seeing I've ever experienced occurred a year ago November, coincidentally at Sunglow when a large group was there, including quite a few AZ observers. By 2:30am almost everyone had gone off to bed and the only ones still up were Frank Martin and me, and we were putting away equipment. Just before putting away his 11" scope Frank decided to take a quick look at Jupiter and was surprised how steady the view was. He asked me if I had a Barlow, and to make a long story short, for the next hour Frank and I reveled in views that were rock-steady even at nearly 800x. (We had no ocular combinations to go higher than that, else we would have tried it.) Band details and festoons were crisp and clear, and most memorable to me is that it was the only time I've ever seen clear detail on the face of Jupiter's moon Io. It seemed almost magical, something that Frank and I still talk about and I'm sure will never forget. But that kind of thing is very rare anywhere, and I wouldn't consider a site poor because that kind of seeing is not an every-night occurrence there. Interesting, the next-best seeing I've ever experienced was at the old SAC Buckeye Hills site in December 1996, a mediocre site even then, but for a few hours that cold night it was terrific. Once in a while almost anyplace can get lucky, I guess. Wil Milan http://www.astrophotographer.com/ "The heavens declare the glory of God And the firmament proclaims His handiwork." -- Psalm 19:1 --- This message is from the AZ-Observing mailing list. If you wish to be removed from this list, send E-mail to: AZ-Observing-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, with the subject: unsubscribe. The list's archive is at: //www.freelists.org/archives/az-observing This is a discussion list. Please send personal inquiries directly to the message author. In other words, do not use "reply" for personal messages. Thanks.