Author Topic: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17  (Read 377 times)

dnsmiley

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Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« on: October 22, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
I observed last night at Lake Sonoma, Lone Rock parking lot. On the drive up through Santa Rosa I smelled smoke and saw the charred, twisted remains of buildings and horse trailers. Hillsides were black and scorched as utility crews worked to restore services. Further north, the golden vineyards glowed in the late afternoon autumn light, as if the terrible fires were a world away. Approaching the lake, low to mid level clouds seemed to be gathering. At the lot, it clouded up more and threatened to make it a short night. An astronomy class from the junior college was setting up in the upper lot, the instructor telling us it was a make up for the previous week which had to be cancelled due to the fires.

I was borrowing a 13" that my friend Ray built as a travelscope. Along with Ray, another friend with a C8 joined. After sunset, the clouds started to dissipate. Since it had recently rained, I was expecting good transparency but poor seeing, but instead we seemed to get the opposite. Saturn, although low in the SW, was quite steady and I enjoyed detailed views at 209x. Iota Cas triple star was an easy split and the Double Double had plenty of black between solid components. But the Milky Way was not as crisp as I've seen before at this site, and the south in particular seemed a bit opaque.

I had a list prepared from Deep Map 600 which has been the perfect resource for me to get restarted after 20+ years out of astronomy. Although I've seen all the M's and a few hundred "best NGCs", revisiting and adding on new objects is just what I need, and I find DM600 wonderfully curated, using it along with the Pocket Sky Atlas. However between dodging the remaining clouds, helping my friend collimate his C8, trying to figure out the new scope I was borrowing, and talking about old observing buddies, I only completed a handful:

NGC 6800, OC in Vul had an interesting shape that reminded me a bit of a small Brocchi's cluster. 6830 I found small but with an intriguing "M" or power line tower shape. I thought I had found Stock 1 and noted I saw something of a circular shape with 3 brighter stars in a line at the center, but I realize now I misidentified it, I was actually looking at 6823. 6910 just NE of Sadr had a nice "y" shape. I had to try the Veil since I had a new DGM NPB (thanks John Pierce for the recommendation!) and was not disappointed - I could trace out both W and E sections much longer and added Pickering's Wedge which I don't remember seeing in my C8. Beautiful mottled detail.

Ray showed us where to find Uranus which I could see intermittently naked eye. In the scopes a nice bluish disk. I never got around to any galaxies, the sky just looked a bit washed out although it could have been some clouds or moisture floating through. Exception was 891, fainter than I remembered but a good dust lane visible.

We got plenty of dew on maps and cars but not on optics and called it a night early. Not the most productive night, but still plenty fun.




sgottlieb

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Re: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 07:08:53 PM »
Glad to hear you and Ray are out observing again!  I hope to join you in the next couple of months.

I just got back from the OzSky star party in Australia.  We had 5 clear nights out of 7, so needless to say I'm exhausted and it'll take awhile before entering all my notes.  But I'll post a report as soon as I can.

Steve

dnsmiley

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Re: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 06:54:13 AM »
Welcome back and congratulations on your incredible achievement - an inspiration.

DDK

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Re: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 04:37:04 PM »
Yeah, I have a hunch what achievement Dan is talking about. Might as well let The Astro Animal spill the beans his own bad seff.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

sgottlieb

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Re: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 08:05:14 PM »
Dan's referring to a little project I completed -- more on that later.