My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to Mount Tamalpais, I idly mused upon the higher implications of this Pale Blue Dot we call home as I contemplated the threat posed by global warming. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 39 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 102 in Scutum. It was easy, just like cotton on velvet. Then, for a real challenge, I hunted for NGC 6467. It was like Smokey the Bear. Next, I hunted for Abell 96 in Ophiuchus. It took me back to the first time I saw the clouds I'd seen earlier. Next, I slewed to IC 546. It seemed fainter than a Black Rider hunting for Frodo. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I jumped to M 51. It somewhat resembled a cantilever bra. Then, for a real challenge, I checked off Abell 5 in Perseus. It was as bright as Demi Moore.

After a short break to drink a slurpie, I found by accident IC 1253. It was like Gollum. Next, I found B 554. It seemed just like an inflamed monkey butt. Then, for a real challenge, I hunted IC 941. It appeared to be cotton candy. Then, for a real challenge, I hunted for M 65 in Serpens. It appeared in the eyepiece like an inflamed monkey butt.

After a short break to enjoy a nutritious snack, I located Abell 86. It took me back to the first time I saw cotton candy. With that checked off my list, I studied NGC 931 in Scutum. It was as bright as Smokey the Bear. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I nudged my telescope to M 25. It compared favorably with nothing I'd ever seen before. Then, for a real challenge, I studied NGC 1857. It seemed just like dandruff on black satin pajamas. Then, I had a chance to see NGC 6968. It looked exactly like R2-D2. With that checked off my list, I checked out IC 2234. It was easy, just like spent coals, faintly glowing. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I accidentally located B 526 in a group of stars that looked like an armadillo. It was as bright as diamonds on light grey velvet. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I hunted for Abell 56. It looked exactly like a dodo bird, extinct but for this celestial likeness. Next, I glimpsed NGC 2784. It seemed almost yet another globular. With that checked off my list, I jumped to M 16. It glowed, rather like dancing elephants. After that, I checked off M 66. It glowed, rather like all the other smudges I've ever looked at. Next, I sketched M 53 in Hydra. It seemed most like the invisible man.

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.


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

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