It was a good night to observe
Hey hey hey,Mother nature finally gave me a break!.I actually had clear and calm skies for observing and I took full advantage of it.As most of you know,my observing luck has been anything but good for the past 6 months.It seemed that anytime we did have clear skies,it was either in conflict with my schedule or the clear skies were accompanied by brutal cold ,high winds or both at the same time.Most of all however,it was the record breaking snowfall!.Oh well,that is all water under the bridge now and their is no reason to dwell on the past!.
The only conflict I had the night before last is a busted up shoulder that I have. I am scheduled for a MRI on Friday to figure out what the problem is.To cover their butts,the company I work for have requested that I don’t come in to until I have the MRI. After flipping a coin and asking myself “should I or shouldn’t I?”and knowing that I had the next day off,I pulled the trigger and decided to suck it up and fight the pain!.My thinking was,unlike the constant heavy lifting that my job requires, the only heavy lifting I would have to do is lugging the tripod down one flight of stairs.I set the scope up at 9PM and was ready for observing by 9:45.While waiting for the scope to cool down,I checked the equipment for any potential problems.I also made sure the Meade DSI and LPI were performing correctly with the laptop.I didn’t want to fix any issues with the software in the dark like I did the last time out!.Luckily,both cameras and laptop worked great!!. My original plan was to observe for a few hours before calling it a night.HAHAHAHAHA…how time flies when a big kid is having fun!.The scope performed flawlessly,the sky was clear and the temps were almost perfect for observing/imaging.One of my first targets to image was the moon which I only got a few images because,by the time I got the scope set up,it was beginning to drift behind a building.After the moon had set behind the building,I slewed the scope to globular cluster M13, which I haven’t seen since early last Fall and I had all but forgotten how big and bright it was…..I blame the pain meds!!.While I was imaging M13 with the DSI,I had a visitor.I have had visitors before but,this was of the four legged variety.I’m sitting at my laptop looking at the live image of M13 on the monitor,when suddenly a big raccoon came around the corner of my car ,which was only about 10 feet away!.We both locked eyes and for a split second it had turned into a staring contest.He quickly turned and bolted for the nearest tree line.I don’t know if it is human nature or if it is just me but,I felt the need to give chase?!,(Heh,before you say it,I will save you the trouble and say it for you”Well,that was a shockingly stupid thing to do!”).After chasing the poor fellow up a tree,I sat back down and resumed imaging and managed to get some of the best shots of M13 that I have ever taken.Even if I did forget to take dark frames.Actually,I didn’t forget to take dark frames,I just forgot I had to create them again after uninstalling and reinstalling the software from the last time I tried to use the camera!.My next target was M82 a.k.a the Cigar galaxy.Because the galaxy is located directly over the middle of town,I had to use averted vision to see the faint thin line of the galaxy when looking through the eye piece.I connected the DSI and after a few tense minutes of fiddling with the camera settings and focus,it came into full view.All I can say is WOW!!!!.It showed a lot of detail including the knots of light and dust located near the galaxies center.Once i get the quirks of the DSI down,I will be revisiting this object!.So,on to the next target which was M15.It appeared as the usual faint glow but,again exploded into view when looking at it on the monitor.Most of the stars were nice and sharp with the exception of the stars near the core.
Ok,so now it is getting really late…(or early depending on how you look at it) as Jupiter was slowly coming into view between some tree’s.I half heartedly slewed the scope towards the bright planet in a attempt to get some quick images but,by the time I had the planet on the monitor,it had hidden behind the next set of tree’s.Not wanting to wait for it to reappear,I decided to pack up and go to bed instead.I was really tired but,before I went to bed,I wanted to download the images to my desktop Pc using a USB flashcard.HAHAHAHAHA,no sooner did I get the images downloaded to the desktop and get the desktop shut down for the night I got a telephone call!.It was my work place calling me into work after they told me not to come in!.Even though it was a bad morning to work,it was a good night to observe!.
Note: I have a actual website in the making.Thanks to Michael over at Mount Washington Valley Astronomy for giving me the opportunity of being the owner of the AbovethecloudsII website.The creation of this site is like I said”still under construction” and should be up and running in a few weeks…I hope?!.I will keep people up todate on it’s contsruction.In the mean time,hop on over to Michael’s site and tell him I said Hi!.What are you waiting for???. 🙂
Below is the the first image of M13 I have taken this year.