Mid-Atlantic Star Party 2002

Observing notes from the evening of Saturday, November 2, 2002

Another Mid-Atlantic Star Party has come and gone. It's held near Carthage, North Carolina under some decent skies if the weather cooperates. This year it came kind of late in the season, with the Friday session falling on November 1. I setup camp in my usual area and had my 8" SCT in tow.

It was actually quite a relaxing time. I dabbled a little bit in photography on Friday night. I was just trying to get use to using my CCD autoguider. I also wandered around and spoke with various other astronomers.

Saturday was spent checking out the vendors that had setup swap tables. I must say, this year was kind of disappointing. There really wasn't that much to see or buy. I think we might have had more astronomers for star gazing, but the vendors didn't seem to really be with the program. I was also disappointed with the way the door prizes were handled this year. Instead of giving everybody a bunch of tickets that you can spread around, they allowed people to actually buy tickets instead. Although this was an excellent way for them to raise money, it also mean that the people that are more wealthy, or had more disposable income, had a better chance at winning prizes. It was totally unfair and shortsighted. Hopefully the next MASP won't repeat this error.

Saturday evening was spent casually observing some familiar deepsky objects. I didn't really feel like working on any lists, so I just went from one random object to the next. I setup my scope beside a couple of people I had met the year before and we basically played tag team observing until getting clouded out. We spent the rest of the evening just sitting around and chatting.

Despite a few negative experiences, the fellowship with other astronomers made this years Mid-Atlantic Star Party still a fun event.

Below are some objects I observed with my 8" SCT:

NGC6638. Globular cluster in Sagittarius. Bright core. Not too resolvable, but it's low in sky. Like a fuzzy spot with a bright core.

NGC6642. Globular cluster in Sagittarius. Small and faint. Brighter in core.

NGC6645. Open cluster in Sagittarius. Rich cluster. Scattered. Pockets of clear areas. Sprawling east to west.

NGC6664. Open cluster in Scutum. Very scattered. Irregular shape. Almost teardrop or heart shape.

NGC6712. Globular cluster in Scutum. Irregular shape. Moderate brightness. Has a triangular shape with a point toward the north.

NGC6755. Open cluster in Aquila. Large and scattered. Irregular. More concentrated to the west. Up to the north east is a fainter cluster.

NGC6756. Open cluster in Aquila. Small and faint. Tight. Dim.

M13. Globular cluster in Hercules. Gigantic, big ball of stars. Resolved to the core. Awesome!

Veil Nebula. Nebula in Cygnus. UHC filter really brings in out. Can see the curving part to the north. Like a snake by the star 52 Cygni. Nebulosity all over the place. The secondary section of the nebula is very easy to see. I call this section the claw. Kind of like a "C" shape.

North American nebular. Nebula in Cygnus. Huge! All over the place. Can really see the "Gulf of Mexico" borders.

Helix Nebula. Planetary nebula in Aquarius. Relatively bright and big. Averted vision shows mottling. Star to the southwest corner.

Bubble Nebula. Nebula in Cassiopeia. Faint glow to the southwest of open cluster NGC7654 (which is a relatively rich cluster).

Neptune. Planet. Tiny blue-gray disk.

Uranus. Planet. Bright and obvious. Tinge of green color.

Dumbbell nebula. Nebula in Vulpecula. Large and bright. Apple core shape easily seen. The core runs roughly northeast to southwest. Can see the outer areas of nebula in the northwest to southeast direction.

M57. Ring nebula in Lyra. Smoke ring floating among the stars.

Jeffrey L. Polston

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