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Join date : 2011-08-24

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PostSubject: Prolific Night   Prolific Night EmptyWed Aug 24, 2011 12:33 pm

With the fall calendar not looking good for stargazing trips, I was determined to get out this new moon. After a failed attempt at Amboy Crater a few weeks ago and two aborted attempts to Cottonwood Springs this week (all due to weather/clouds) the weather finally cooperated for an almost perfect night at Cottonwood last night. I arrived just before 9 and started observing by 9:15, starting with brighter objects while waiting for the moon to set. The sky was clear, transparency was excellent, and shorts and a t-shirt sufficed for the whole night with just enough of a breeze to take the edge off the heat. There were only a couple other campers at the campground and I didn't hear or see anything from them the entire night.

I brought a long list of H400 objects in various constellations (printed for the day prior to allow for moving clouds), choosing those best placed instead of focusing on the most difficult as I often do for dark sky trips. When it was all over I logged all 28 objects and still had time to hunt down some showpiece objects.


NGC6451 (Tom Thumb Cluster): True to its name, it looked like a thumb with about 20 outline stars visible with direct vision. Averted vision pulled out many more that filled in the outline. Very pretty and a cool visual effect to boot!

NGC6520 (OC in Sgr): Looks like a crab or spider to me with a small bright clump of about 30 stars forming the body and two curved strings of stars forming legs or claws.

NGC6568 (OC in Sgr): Large, bright, "stringy" cluster with lots of loops and curves.

NGC6645 (OC in Sgr): Medium sized cluster of stars of varied brightness, generally more faint than surrounding field stars. Delicate, pretty.

North American Nebula: Very pretty in 17mm Ethos with UHC filter.

All in all, a near perfect night!
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