Observing June 15, 2010

Well last night I had the honor to take Steve Coe out to the Stansbury Park Observator Complex or SPOC. Our club president was there along with some wonderful members. We opened up all three bays, the 8 inch refractor, the 16 inch Ealing Reflector and the 32 inch Reflector. I was using the refractor tonight and we began by looking at different objects. I brought Venus up and its gibbous state was obivous but no details on the clouds could be observed. Next, I went after Saturn and we noticed that at 9:00 to 9:30p.m. that conditions were not good for viewing Saturn at high power. One of the problems with the observatories are that they absorb the heat of the sun during the day, so when they are opened up, that same heat radiates out causing thermals. At 10:00p.m. Saturn looked stunning, with a band visible, five moons and the rings being what they are right now. Still, a very lovely sight with excellent contrast.

Next came some doubles. I went to Arcturus to hop over to M3 but our club president took the scope and went to Izar. What a lovely view in the 8 inch refractor! The main star was a yellowish/orange color with the companion showing off turquoise or a greenish/bluish hue. Very easy to split using the 17mm Stratus. I now went to Delta Bootis and enjoyed the view of this double also. I did meander over to M3 and as always, this obscure globular wasn't too hard to find. From here we went to Porrima in Virgo and the main star here was a whitish/yellowish also, with its companion also looking whitish with a tint(?) of blue. This is a very hard star to split in smaller scopes since the binary have come closer to each other.

I then split Theta Virginis which was also a nice split to do. From here I left Virgo and went to Scorpius which was just over the roof of the observatory in viewing range. I went to Graffius and split Graffius which was colorful and fun. From here I went down to M4 and viewed M4. The dark lane was very evident along with the wonderful curving of the stars on the outer portion of the globular. Next I went back to Graffius and then down to M80 which just shown wonderfully in the 17mm EP in the 8 inch refractor. Next I star hopped, and realize there is no telrad etc on the refractor, it is sight tube and finderscope to get to the object, and went to M107. Steve Coe helped me on the ending of this as I was just too tired. Wonderful light globular. After this I shut down the refractor and closed up the observatory with the assistance of our youngest club member.

Over on the 32 inch as mentioned, we spent time with some planetary nebula and galaxies. Thought I didn't sketch, and though I didn't get any Herschel items done, it was an enjoyable night of observing. I'm tired tonight and will be napping tomorrow. By the way, I ordered a new scope today . . . .