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Friday, May 14th, 2004
Wow, what a fun evening. A minor star party at the local astronomy shop. About 25 people and 10 telescopes were gathered together for a swap meet and NEAT/Q4 observation extravaganza.

NEAT/Q4
The primary object of the evening was NEAT/Q4. But this was not just a cool comet observation, though it was the first comet I've ever seen. NEAT/Q4 was sitting just under the Beehive open cluster in Cancer. Seeing the comet in the telescope was awesome. I looked at it in several different telescopes as well as a variety of eyepieces. I can tell you this much, it looked the best in my 12" Dob with the 32mm 65FOV eyepiece because I could make out the tail. In some of the smaller scopes, the tail was harder to make out.

However, the most spectacular view was in a pair of binoculars because you could get both the comet AND the Beehive in the same field of view. WOW! I really wish I was into astrophotography at this point. What a spectacular picture that would have made.

Because of how cool the object was in the binoculars, it MADE me buy a pair! This was a pretty darned good deal too. $40 bucks for a pair of 10X50's. I checked out a few other objects in the binoculars to see what else I could make out in them. Apparently, the Andromeda Galaxy will look pretty cool in them as well as other very large objects liike comets or large open clusters. I'm looking forward to other cool sights in my new binoculars. I checked out M13, the Hercules globular cluster and though it was tiny, it was definitely there. So they are somewhat good for even some deep sky objects.


Other Observations
I made a few other observations, like a cool eclipse on Jupiter and a sweet sliver of a crescent of Venus. A few other objects as well, but really the primary focus of the relatively short evening was NEAT/Q4 and the Beehive.





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