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Thread: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

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    Post FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!



    It was a dark and COLD night; no wind, no clouds or dew to be found.

    Monday afternoon, I left the missus a note to wake me up. When the wake up call came, it took a while to for me to take in the scene. A darkened kitchen and stars shining through the sunroof windows. It my chance to get out with the scope in the black of night for the first time this year. As I dressed for warmth, I checked the weather, clear and cold but "only" +26 degrees F. A sneer of contempt and scorn passed my lips at the thought of the cold. Little did I know that I would want to eat that sneer.

    The wife didn't come to check on me, so I dressed as warmly as I could, knowing that I would need to doff the duds quickly in order to prepare for the day's job that lay ahead. The thought of being able to get some time alone was stifled by the creaking of the floor boards indicating that the wife was approaching. What did she want? Was she going to talk my night away? Was she going to come outside? Nah, those thoughts were banished from my mind as quickly as they came. The minutes were ticking away, I had to get busy and get outside. I dressed faster and grabbed the tricky eyepiece case and headed out the door, not waiting to see if the dame was coming or not.

    The sky wasn't as transparent as it should have been and the neighbor's lights seemed brighter tonight. There was the sound of an argument down the street and the local dog society was barking the local news. I didn't stop to figure it all out, I was on a mission. A mission critical, yes, critical....as I hadn't used the scope since that abortive try with the Moon just around New Year's. What a mess that was, clear one minute, clouded over the next. This wasn't going to be that time, no, not this time. No clouds tonight....wait, there were some high clouds, but they wouldn't deter me, not this time.

    Set up takes time, precious time. Alignment to the pole star took longer as the sky was washed out more than usual. The scope seemed cranky, it didn't want to align on a star. I'm not a guy to take crankiness laying down. I showed it who was in charge this time. Yes, even though it took more than one try, I beat it at it's own game and overcame the odds. Didn't have to polar align this time, no-sirree... not falling for that song and dance. Got the alignment nailed! Beat the scope at it's own game as Orion Nebula was dead center in the cross hairs, just like at target practice. Dead shot.

    Got a game plan tonight, with the star atlas handy, Orion and the big hunting dog were gonna spill their secrets. M41 and M41, then on to M46 and M47 and then several NGC sites were targeted. Got in the Rosette Nebula, just in time for a Valentine. The Hunter (Orion) also showed off several of its less known objects like the area around Alnitak. I could barely see but did see the Flame nebula despite my inconsiderate neighbor's floodlights. Even Andromeda was clear, I could see, just see, in the outer part of the core, the spiral arms or maybe it was just one arm. Couldn't tell.

    Got the crab.....no, not that stuff, the Crab Nebula, as well as the Christmas tree cluster and the beehive cluster. My hunt was for globs but couldn't find them on this night as they eluded my search. Next time, yeah, next time...they won't escape, you can count on it. And just as Leo was rising

    Two hours and the cold's biting me more than I expected. I can't louse out now but the clock's against me too. The scope is cooperating for once but I'm losing out to the cold and the clock. The temp's now +23 F and I'm whimping out. It's more of the upper body and the hands. I picked the lightweight gloves this time out. Next time, yeah, next time, when there will be a next time, I'll be more prepared. This time the cold and the clock won the battle but not the fight.

    I'll be back....you can be sure of that.

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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Nice report, Jim. It was a tough fight, but you won the battle with the scope at least. Good night out, I'll say.

    Ready for some warm cloudy weather here. I am getting tired of the cold cloudy weather.
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    Bryan

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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Very interesting if cold report well you did at least slay some of those DSO's in Orion and Andromeda is always a nice view too. Clear and warmer skies for you next time.
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Nice, sounds like a great night. Congrats on M1, that's impressive!
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Great report and interesting read
    I was out last night for only half hour at a time. And my wife caught me while I was setting up focusing. Asked me to go to the shop to get dinner As she cooks mine most of the time, I could hardly refuse.
    My hands stay warm mostly, naturally, ( my wife hates me for that as she feels the cold. ) but last night my hands really felt the cold for some reason. And it was only 32F!! So, at 23F You sir, are a dedicated ( or desperate? ) man Either way, glad you managed to get out and have a great session.

    Thanks for your report.
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Dang, Seawolfe that was a great read. You had me hooked from the get-go. :-)
    I can feel the excitement. I think my hands were even shaking. I'm glad you got out there and had a good time. Thank you for the share and I hope you get more real soon.
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Great report.
    Nicely written.
    Next times often come unannounced, so be prepared!
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Congratulations on managing to get the telescope out. Hope fully some of those cloud breaks will continue north to give me a break.
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Glad you got out, same conditions here, on the other side of the hills. Crystal clear last night, the zodiacal light reached half way to the zenith. Winter milky way thru Monoceros was easy and Orion was peppered with tiny stars. Temps seemed the same, 23F when my laptop battery gave out at midnight, but imaged four subjects and found time to tweak the bigdog alignment, but still a little off. However, I cheated, and went in for coffee while the cameras were rolling and beat the cold.

    Nice report, and more clear skies
    Steve
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    Default Re: FINALLY!!!! An evening out with the stars!

    Nice that you got some good skies and managed a few Jim!
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