November 28, 2016 at 7:53 pm #1220
As I reported in another thread, Coyle was clear when we arrived around 6P, largely cloudy by the end of setting up, clear except for clouds to the far west, from about 7:30 to midnight. There was a clouding event for a while when clouds from the west crept in then dissipated. We left the field about 1:35AM amidst some frost. So, there were some atmospheric issues last night with occasional clouding but there was still enough sky to make a good session out of what could have turned into a missed opportunity had we decided not to go. The 18″ f/4.3 was in play.
Highlights: NGC 40 in 8E, NGC 404 in 9mm UO Ortho (Mirach was MIA as a result), NGC 382 (aka ARP 331) such a nice grouping of 5 galaxies in Pisces that showed several more fainter ones at Shawn’s last month. NGC 660 a bright barred spiral also in Pisces, again what a whopper it is at Shawn’s. M31 had some difficulty giving up its dark lanes in the 31NT5 & 21E. NGC 507 anchors ARP 229 in an inviting cluster of otherwise quite dim galaxies but some scanning unveiled NGC 495 and 499, I know there were others there according to my charts but they were all elusive or might’ve been just imaginary hints.
Didn’t have any problems with NGC 891 in my 10E but I saw it much better, ahem… at Shawn’s. NGC 7640 in Andromeda, a Karl pick from some time ago, was big and bright in the 10E.
Igor was already on the field when Lionel and I arrived at 6PM as were two others. Jim from Haddonfield, NJ with his AP900 mount and Tak FSQ106 that he promptly packed up giving up on his imaging plans because he forgot something which turned his night into a non-starter. Jim gave us some good insight into the Coyle Field administration issues which I’ll leave to an in-person discussion for those who care to know. Just ask next time you see me. Also, there was Joe McCauley whose equipment has suddenly escaped my memory. Perhaps Lionel can recall if he posts.
Ah, speaking of Lionel…. My heart bled for him while his cold bare hands grappled among the snakepit of cables in his rocker box at freezing temperatures as he was troubleshooting his blanked-out red LED signaling that his ServoCat lost communication with his SkyCommander. But he persevered and narrowed it down finally to what seemed like a faulty 12V power plug that he fixed with his blue slow moving near-frost-bitten fingers. He might be old but he can crawl around on the ground with the best of the toddlers.
Igor was talking about his imaging of M31 at I was at my scope drinking in NGC 1023, the Little Andromeda as Karl aptly called it. Igor wasn’t aware of it, so I gave him a look-see and he was amazed at its resemblance to M31 in miniature. Now it’s on his list for a future photo-shoot.
I think I’m becoming a dark site snob, if some don’t already consider me one, but for the last half-dozen of so visits to Coyle Field I haven’t measured darker than 5.9 with my SQM-L meter. Last night it was 5.8 at best and I swear that the horizon sky glow has gotten bigger. It’s only really dark above 65°-70° altitude. Igor and I were discussing that when it brought me back to… yep, Shawn’s with dark allllllllll the way down and within a doable drive for us southeast PAers. My last outing to ChesLen where I was quite happy to have my 115mm apo struck me similarly. I like ChesLen. It’s flat which makes walking around very easy. Has a clean restroom. WiFi. Damn close to home to boot and although the sky measured it’s 5.5 average, I was disappointed in the horizons, which were low, of course, but too bright to make good use of. Maybe I can attribute all this angst to the largely failed session in WV this year which was followed shortly by the surprisingly good two nights I had at Shawn’s. Or maybe reading Josh’s posts about New Mexico that I had to bail on.
Anyway, enough ranting. The only remedy is to make the committment to go farther for darker. I’m keeping an eye on Exmore’s forecasts which aren’t looking too bad coming up.
- This topic was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Fred.
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