Joy of Having a View

Observing notes from Tuesday, September 28, 1994 (or some day around there)

I use to look out my window and see a rock-face. Although according to Carl Sagan, it is really "star stuff", my astronomer's blood wanted something a little further up the celestial evolutionary scale. And then God (or your favorite deity) said, "let Jeff move to an ABOVE GROUND apartment......and......let there be light!!!! light that is!!!!" So, after straining every muscle in my body for a weekend, I have an apartment, that has a balcony, that has an EXCELLENT view of the Cascades, but most importantly,

and the only reason for this mail, a view of the eastern half of the sky! And God (or money, big breasted women, or what ever you may worship, like Ultimate for Mike Keran (co-worker)) said, "let Jeff be so sore from moving, that he can't unpack his stuff, but only can muster enough strength to drag his refractor to the balcony to observe my creation (or whatever happens to be in front of the windows of neighboring apartments)." So Jeff followed the words of the god-person and observed the night sky....

I spent a couple of hours last night on my balcony observing the heavens. I spent a lot of time on Saturn. The sky wasn't all that steady, but every now and then the "seeing" would improve. I got a pretty good view of Saturn. I could tell it had rings, but couldn't distinguish the Cassini division. I picked up two moons, but I'm not sure which ones. I was also able to make out a couple of cloud belts!!!

After Saturn, I turned my attention to the Andromeda galaxy, M31. Using the star hop method, (and yes Mike, I could see the fainter stars after my eyes were somewhat dark adapted), I easily found the fuzzy spiral. I tried various powers and it was a pretty sight, but since I was using my 3" refractor, the image wasn't super bright. After M31, I leaped to the Perseus double cluster. This is one of my favorite open clusters. After this, I found the open cluster, M34 (first time I've observed this one). It was a pretty sight. I then observed a few stars, such as Capella in Auriga, Mirfak and Algol in Perseus, Fomalhaut in Pisces Australis. I tried to find Mira in Cetus, but the light pollution was just too much. Although I could see the Pleides rising, along with the Hyades of Taurus, I decided it was time just to put the scope away and enjoy the night sky. So, I sat back and traced the constellations, such as Perseus, Cassiopeia, Aries, Pegasus, Andromeda, Triangulum, and Aries. I tried to trace Cetus and Pisces but the stars were just too faint to overcome the light pollution.

It was a very enjoyable stargazing session, especially since it was so easy. Just thought I would share the experience with you.

Jeff Polston

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