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• 04/30/09
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
This looked like the last chance for a while, so I set up on the patio in a location where only one street light can blast my retinas.  The plan was to look for Messiers in Ursa Major.
I couldn't find a darn thing tonight.  Poor seeing, thin clouds passing through every so often, and my red zone light pollution (not to mention the street light) all conspired against me. Even Saturn was difficult to keep steady above 50x.  My planned viewing list for the night was all made up of faint fuzzies and none of them made it through the murk.
M108: not seen
M97: not seen
M51: not seen
M91: not seen
M109: not seen
 Now, I know I'm still learning the intricacies of star hopping, but with eyepieces that give 1 degree and 1.8 degree TFOV, I'm pretty sure I had my targets in the eyepiece at least some of the time.  Couldn't see 'em, though.  I guess I gotta go find some darker skies.  Union Hill, here I come.
I had an alarm clock set for the next morning so I called it quits early.
I was using Stellarium on my laptop while viewing.  I have a screen cover with 2 layers of Rubylith, excellent for keeping night vision (what little I ever get in the yard.)   (Last night as I'm entering this) I tried using Matthew Gate's Angle Measure plugin to verify some star separations I was seeing, but discovered that the blue lines and text of the AngleMeasure gizmo were totally invisible through Rubylith.  Today I emailed Matthew Gates and explained the problem; a couple of hours later I checked my email and he had already made updated the AngleMeasure plugin to allow user-selectable colors.  That guy rocks!  If you're using his AngleMeasure plugin, you should download the newest version.

On 09/09/14 at 08:21pm Anonymous wrote:
8/30/2014: Took revamped barn door tracker to the Silver Falls Star Party. Weather forecasters all failed. No stars.

On 05/02/09 at 11:05pm Neil Heacock wrote:
Ooooh... yer in for a treat when you get out there. Prepare to consider moving! LOL

On 05/02/09 at 11:00pm Anonymous wrote:
No, I haven't been to dark skies with this scope. I'm looking forward to it.

On 05/02/09 at 01:53am Barry wrote:
Don't feel like the Lone Ranger (showing my age). Those are all very difficult targets from urban locations. I couldn't see M108 and M109 a 12" Dob. You probably saw M51 and didn't realize it. From a non-dark location, it looks like 2 slightly fuzzy stars. You can't see any of the spiral structure. And, if seeing is poor....all the stars look slightly fuzzy. As Neil says, a dark sky location will blow your mind. M51 looks like a near-photograph. I saw it from central Oregon not long ago......made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Awesome!

On 05/02/09 at 01:36am Neil Heacock wrote:
Oh man. That's annoying. I feel your pain! I didn't know what dark skies would do for my visual observation until I went. And doggonit if I ain't hooked! Now they've spoiled me rotten and I get annoyed observing from my house sometimes.

Have you had your gear to dark skies yet?


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