My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to Mount Tamalpais, I idly mused upon the subtle meaning of Norse mythology as I contemplated the night's aurora display. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 50 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 96 in Corvus. It gave the appearance of desert sand. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I checked out B 323 in a group of stars that looked like an armadillo. It seemed fainter than one of Martha Stewart's doilies. With that checked off my list, I looked at IC 1204 in Serpens. It looked exactly like a spitting cobra. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I logged Abell 9. It looked a bit like diamonds on light grey velvet. Then, for a real challenge, I had a chance to see M 47 in Lynx. It gave the appearance of ripples of water. Then, I sought Abell 56 in that confusing part of Virgo. It would be easy to confuse with whispy tendrils of nebulosity. After that, I found NGC 5690. It seemed fainter than cream being swirled into hot coffee.

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 stale peeps.


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

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