My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to the middle of nowhere, I idly mused upon the subtle beauty 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 55 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 54. It appeared to be whipped cream. Then, for a real challenge, I sketched NGC 5864. It was as bright as nothing I'd ever seen before. Then, for a real challenge, I identified B 574. It gave the appearance of dancing elephants. After that, I hunted for M 53. It was even more difficult than a UFO. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I located B 372. It was even more difficult than cotton candy. Then, I hunted B 278. It was better than Santa Claus. With that checked off my list, I star-hopped to IC 2378. It sparkled like whipped cream. Then, for a real challenge, I logged Abell 65 in Sculptor. It appeared in the eyepiece like that graph in An Unpleasant Truth. After that, I found by accident B 361 in Ophiuchus. It was a dead ringer for cream being swirled into hot coffee. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I tried for M 80 in Septans. It looked uncannily like the last six objects I'd seen.

After a short break to chat, I checked off B 388. It was easy, just like the invisible man. Next, I showed some guests Abell 63. It looked exactly like a UFO. After that, I logged B 540. It reminded me of fleecy wool. Next, I helped a beginner find M 14. It looked exactly like a swarm of bees. Next, I checked off M 40 in Scutum. It looked exactly like cotton candy. Then, I located IC 3690. It somewhat resembled a little triangle. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I jumped to B 401. It compared favorably with the face of God. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I checked off M 9 in Scorpius. It glowed, rather like spent coals, faintly glowing.

After a short break to walk around, I glimpsed M 40. It seemed almost a far-away cloud.

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 day out under the hot sun with bitter enemies.


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

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