Astro Log: July 21st, 2012

Equipment: 16” Dobsonian, 55mm, 12mm TeleVue Nagler, 32mm, 6mm eyepieces, OIII filter.

New objects observed: Messier 107, Messier 23, Messier 24, Messier 109, Messier 108, Messier 55, NGC 2976, Messier 25, Messier 15, Messier 75, NGC 6946, NGC 6939

Previously viewed objects observed: Messier 8, NGC 6530, Messier 97, Messier 51, NGC 5195, Messier 13, Messier 92, Messier 81, Messier 82, NGC 3077, NGC 6960 (Western Veil Nebula), NGC 6995 (Eastern Veil Nebula), NGC 6974, Messier 31, Messier 32, Messier 110

New location: Spot near Goldendale, WA.

The Tacoma Astronomical Society had their annual star party this week, and yesterday the opportunity presented itself for me to be able to go to the last night of it. The directions weren’t quite as clear as they could have been, and at one point I found myself inching along an absolutely terrifying gravel death road down a mountain with a couple hundred foot drop right next to said road, but I eventually found my way there.

I was able to rack up a lot of my missing Messier objects while I was there, and pulled in a number of old favorites and some random NGC objects as well. Getting M55 was a bit odd, since it was about 10ยบ above the horizon. I managed to see it (not that it’s particularly notable), but it was literally as low as that Dob will go. M51 was quite impressive however, with somewhat discernible arms and everything. Sadly, no dust lanes were visible with the Andromeda Galaxy for some reason. I think that’s worth a try at Sunrise sometime; the extra elevation might help. I even found some objects unexpectedly while looking for others, like NGC 2976. I saw that while looking for M81 & M82.

For the new objects tonight, some are actually new, some I think are ones I had seen before and forgot to note that I had seen them.

On another note, it looks like I have only seven unobserved Messier objects now:

  • Messier 48 - Open cluster
  • Messier 61 - Galaxy
  • Messier 78 - Diffuse nebula
  • Messier 83 - Galaxy
  • Messier 93 - Open cluster
  • Messier 98 - Galaxy
  • Messier 100 - Galaxy

I think it’ll be a while before some of them present themselves so I can see them, but hopefully the weather decides to cooperate when they next come around. I was thinking earlier that the next time I go out to a dark site, I should make a list of NGC objects and start working on those.

It was pretty darn dark (the sky was actually better than it is here in Tacoma after midnight before the sun even finished setting all the way), but it did unfortunately get kind of murky as the night wore on. I was lazy and just slept in my car, which turned out not to be a recipe for success. It took me a couple of hours to get any sleep at all because the blankets I brought weren’t heavy enough, and then the light from the sun rising kept me awake as well until I figured out I could put a coat over my head for darkness and increased warmth. Lesson learned. Had a fine time though, although I would probably get a little squirrely if I had been there for several days.

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