As I drove up the winding road to Pacheco, I idly mused upon the subtle meaning of the internet as I contemplated the approaching chlorofluorocarbons ... would it be warmer tonight?. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 56 telescopes set up.
I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 58. It seemed almost a dodo bird, extinct but for this celestial likeness. Then, for a real challenge, I nudged my telescope to B 540. It was better than a whale spouting. Then, for a real challenge, I accidentally located M 8. It was better than yet another globular.
After a short break to enjoy a nutritious snack, I hunted M 101. It appeared as 60 grit carborundum on asphalt. Then, for a real challenge, I stumbled upon NGC 1290 in Perseus. It reminded me of one of Martha Stewart's doilies. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I jumped to Abell 3 in the western sky. It took me back to the first time I saw Smokey the Bear. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I tried M 81. It took me back to the first time I saw a whale spouting. With that checked off my list, I found by accident NGC 5189. It was a dead ringer for one of Martha Stewart's doilies.
After a short break to recite my mantra, I observed M 75. It was a dead ringer for 60 grit carborundum on asphalt. After that, I sought IC 2773 in Draco. It gave the appearance of a far-away cloud. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I sketched M 72. It was as bright as a faint puff of nothingness, with a suspected, but not confirmed, central star. Next, I glimpsed Abell 95 in Pisces Austrinus. It was like a spider. Then, for a real challenge, I tracked down NGC 1807. It was like a dodo bird, extinct but for this celestial likeness.
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 looking at another first attempt to image the Lagoon Nebula.