My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to Pacheco, I idly mused upon the subtle beauty of Plato's Republic as I contemplated the past week of rain. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 54 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 95. It appeared at low power like a waterfall. Next, I went for IC 2474. It seemed just like dancing elephants. After that, I showed some guests M 97. It looked like the invisible man. With that checked off my list, I slewed to B 56 in Canis Major. It was a dead ringer for diamonds on black velvet. After that, I looked at Abell 34 in a group of stars that looked like an armadillo. It seemed most like smoke signals from a rampaging Iroquois band. With that checked off my list, I identified IC 3456 in Canes Venatici. It seemed almost desert sand. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I sought IC 224. It was like Smokey the Bear. After that, I found M 63 in Sagittarius. It glowed, rather like Dubya. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I sketched Abell 29 in Canes Venatici. It reminded me of ripples of water. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I added to my logbook Abell 40. It took me back to the first time I saw the eye of God. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I helped a beginner find Abell 42 in Gemini. It sparkled like diamonds on light grey velvet. After that, I jumped to B 590. It appeared to be Gollum. Then, for a real challenge, I studied IC 2930. It seemed just like whispy tendrils of nebulosity. Then, for a real challenge, I hunted M 77 in Hydra. It looked exactly like the exhaust from a diesel Suburban.

After a short break to grab a cheese snack, I tracked down Abell 81. It was better than a glimmer of the Big Bang. After that, I sought B 331 in Corvus. It took me back to the first time I saw Gollum.

Finally, it was time to pack up and leave. As I drove home, I contemplated the events of the night, and realized that any night out under the sky with good friends is better than a 24-hour 007 marathon.


    ...Akkana (with help from David North, Jane Houston Jones, and Bill Arnett) .

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