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10/12/2010

Sunday October 10, 2010 Observations; Comet Hartley

October 10, 2010

I decided to set up close to home this night but I needed to get out. October has been rough on Astronomy between a funeral that took a weekend of great seeing and then a week of clouds of rain at new moon. Now the wonderful crescent moon is up. As of tomorrow, Wednesday, October 13th, I am off from teaching for the next 3 weeks so I plan on getting some time in, probably tomorrow night. The waxing crescent will drop behind the mountains around 11:00p.m. so that will give me an opportunity to do some good winter Herschel hunting which is what I need. I am heading to a location I scouted out in the West Desert Mountains that is up out of the humidity that happens in the valleys out there this time of the year. So I should have another report this week. I also plan to do some lunar observing from the backyard and to enjoy that view and to so some live lunar sketches. So until Saturday the weather should hold just fine and that should make for some fun.

Anyway, on Sunday I actually observe quite a few objects but only sketched a couple. I did a sketch of M-31 from a LP zone but I haven't finished processing it yet. I'll try to do that also over the next several days. One thing that drove me nuts was that on this night my Intelliscope worked fine at first, but then went to a Warp 24. I shut it off and star hopped but I'll need to readjust that so it is working. Did an encoder test and that was fine so I have an idea but we'll see.

The other thing was on this night my son who is 16 joined me. To be quite honest that is why I only got 3 sketches done [I did a 10mm Pentax XW sketch and a 24 Panoptic Sketch (wrote 32, thinking 35, but it was the 24) that I'll post soon]. Despite the lack of sketches it was a wonderful night. We started with M22 and then moved over to the Lagoon Nebula, M8; Trifed Nebula, M20; the Sagittarius Star Cloud, the Swan Nebula, M17; the Eagle Nebula, M16; the Wild Duck Open Cluster, M11; M27 The Dumbbell Nebula; M57 the Ring Nebula; and then over to M31, M31 and M110, and then over to the Double Cluster, NGC 457 and then to Comet Hartley. It was fun to let my son run the 14 inch telescope for the first time and to watch as he visited old friends. We talked as he hunted and I enjoyed the views. My daughter even joined us for about 20 minutes.

Here are the two sketches that I did with Comet Hartley. On the one with the 10mm Pentax XW a stellar core was visible with averted vision, at times with direct and it appeared brighter on the eastern edge though I am not sure why. I would have expected that on the western edge. In the Panoptic 24mm (labeled as the 32 which it wasn't, we had been using that EP to try it out but I did not sketch it to see if I liked it better than the 24) no core was visible, just a nice fuzzy ball.