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Friday, March 11th, 2005
Kah-Nee-Ta trip with my brother. See his journal here.

I just (finally) joined the Rose City Astronomers and the opening star party of the year is the Messier Marathon held at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The trip was wonderful.

Seeing conditions were very good, but the wind was very blustery. Steady 10-12 MPH with gusts up to 20 MPH. High power was impossible, but for a Messier Marathon, high power is not necessary. I spent the bulk of the evening with my 40mm which yeilds only 37x power, and boosting to only my 14mm at 107x.

Though the sky was very clear, but about 3 am the clouds had rolled in thick enough to where virtually eveything was obscured. About 4 am we packed it up and called it a night.

I did not have any Messier Marathon specific helper books or charts, I just used my trusty old Starry Night Pro. I pulled up all of the Messier objects and ticked em off as they were setting. Due to the clouds coming in around 3 am, nearly all of the summer objects (28 of them) were no where to be found. We ended up logging 82 of the 110 Messiers and were satisfied. There were only about 10 that I had to look up in Starry Night. The rest were all from memory.

Along with a bunch of NGC, IC and others I logged a total of 99 objects. Not bad for a night that when I let go of my scope the wind blew it around!

Since the conditions were difficult and I had the mindset for a "marathon", it was turn and burn all night. I took enough time to get a good look at each object, then I was off to another. I did no actual logging of descriptions or study of fine detail. Partially because I was after a hundred objects, and partially because the wind just wouldn't let me get more than one look at each thing without having to find it again.

All in all it was a terrific night and the first dark sky I've had in months. It definitely gave me the itch. On the spot we planned 3 more dark sky outings! One every other month ths year until the fall.





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