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.