Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Observing from Gainesville – Sept. 29

Getting a chance to break out the telescope is a hit-or-miss proposition with me. I can’t just do it on impulse because of the planning that’s needed, and the need for an empty parking space next to my car.

Sept. 29 didn’t seem like the best day, though. A visit from family dominated the day, and when they left at 4 p.m., I was undecided about hauling the telescope down the stairs and setting it up. But the clear skies left me with few options. I had to see some heavenly objects.

My normal drill is to stage the disassembled telescope and other items near the door of the condo, then move them all out in front, then start carrying everything down to the parking lot. I did at around 7:15 p.m., and was finished setting up in time to begin aligning on Vega.

I did a two-star alignment with one calibration star, and started out with Albireo, the beautiful double star in Cygnus. The Summer Triangle is near the zenith after sunset now, so observations in Lyra and Cygnus result in awkward positioning for the tube, but the 90-degree finder is a great help.

There was an issue with some clouds, but the clouds soon went away.

Next up was a view of M13, the great globular cluster in Hercules, and then its lesser-known comrade, M92, another cluster in the same constellation. I also tried a shot at the planet Neptune, and the GoTos were only superb.

I went back to M13 and M92 a couple of times, then decided to try an object I had never seen before, the Wild Duck Cluster, M11, in the constellation Scutum. The view was awesome, and I shared it with some folks in the parking lot. They were very impressed with the telescope and the views.

I closed out with a view of the Ring Nebula in Lyra, and finally managed to get a shot of Uranus through the trees. It was about 9:30 p.m. when I decided to call it a night and began breaking down the scope.

It had been a busy day, and after eating dinner I finally sat down to watch “Parks and Recreation” at 11:45 p.m., but found myself falling asleep in front of the TV, so I went to bed.

All in all, a successful night at the telescope.

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September 30, 2011 - Posted by | Observations with Vinny | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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