Scoping Things Out

Observing notes from Saturday, February 10, 1996

I got to do a little observing this past weekend. I broke out my "new" 10" scope Saturday night. Nothing much new, I just enjoyed the views. I observed most of the things I did my first night with the scope, jumping from one object to the next. I did find M109 in Ursa Major (at least I think I did). It was so dim, I wasn't really sure if I had it or not. To make matters worst it was low in the sky, and I was observing directly over my roof. But, you take what you can get. This was my first time "seeing" M109.

I also observed an open star cluster to the left of M41 in Canis Major. It might have been M93, but I'm not sure since there are other clusters in the area. I was just panning in the area and found it. I didn't have a chart with me, but judging by the brightness, it MUST have been M93 (again, a first observation for me).

I tried my best to find the Horsehead nebula...and ended in failure. I couldn't see anything. Even my imagination refused to think it saw something. I was able to find the Flame nebula on the other side of Alnitak (Zeta - Orion), but couldn't make out any of Horsehead nebula on the other side. I've printed out a few .GIF images of Horsehead, and will try again this week. The skies over my house aren't the greatest, so I might end up having to travel a bit. I'll keep you informed.

I've also ordered a Telrad for the 10" scope. Trying to point the darn thing in the northern sky can be kind of tricky. I can easily point my refractor using the finder scope, and even have great success with the SCT on the fork mount, but this German equatorial mount is getting the best of me. I can't tell where I'm at using the finder. I've heard a few people sing the praises of Telrad, so I'm going to give it a try.

Still haven't started on the Dobsonian mount yet, but I'm going to try and get a sheet of plywood this week.

Jeff Polston

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