[Excerpts from observering reports from the Calstar event held in September at Lake San Antonio.]
I began and ended, by chance, with objects that I hadn't been able to see at Coe. Started with NGC 6539 in Ophiuchus, a globular which was just barely visible from Rashad's 12" the week before, invisible in my scope. Sure enough it's dim, diffuse with a bright core. Sure looks to have intervening dust. Ended the night at 5 a.m. with 559, a tiny little tight, distant compact OC [open cluster] in the middle of the W of Cassiopeia. I'd scanned that area more than once before without spotting the cluster. There it was.
NGC 253 was once again unbelievable, the big galaxy with the long shapely legs in Sculptor, clear dust lanes, looping arms. Phwoo. Then at the end of the night I spent time gazing at little Trumpler 1 off M103 in Cassiopeia. This is a beautiful distant OC, looks like a flight of geese, 4 stars in a tight straight line maybe 5' long, forming a wedge with a set of 3 stars at an angle ca 30 deg. A favorite. First described here as a "curdling in the Milky Way."
Telescope: (Felix is a Celestron 11" f/4.5 Dobs with a primary made by Discovery. Was using a 22 Pan, 16mm UO Koenig, a 6mm Radian and a TV 2x Barlow, with a Lumicon O-III.)
I'm in the process now of re-visiting the Messiers with Zefram, my JMI NGT-12.5. My emphasis is on objects that were much more difficult to see, or to find, in my Orion Short-tube 80. Using Burnham's, and Wil Tiron's Cambridge Star Atlas, I identified some other interesting objects that would be in the vicinity of my targeted Messiers.
NGC7317, 7318, 7319, & 7320 - Stephan's Quintet
Armed with Jay Freeman's S&T article, I pumped up the courage to track this one down in Pegasus. Now, did I see it or didn't I? I definitely identified two bright patches, again at 159X, which I'm figuring are NGC7318 and 7320. On further study I thought I could separate NGC7319 from the group, but I don't think I can say I identified 7317 in the field.
NGC672 & IC1727
This was a great serendipitous discovery. Look 2 degrees south of the pointy end of Triangulum. You'll find this fascinating "rabbit ears" pair of edge-on spiral galaxies. After I saw them in Zephram, I went and looked to them some more in John's 25-inch Obsession. Way kewl!
I know I've omitted some old favorites like M31, M33, and M45 that I look at anytime they're up. I also got a stunning planetary view of Jupiter and Saturn through Rich's 7" refractor with the binoviewers, and an awesome view of the Crab nebula in someone's 25" dob.
[Ed note: That "someone" was Bill Cherrington and son Mark, members of the SFAA, and the Sidewalk Astronomers. Bill can be found at Fiddletown and the great US star parties (like CalStar is destined to be).
Thanks guys for sharing the memories!]
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