My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to Twin Peaks, I idly mused upon the current implications of cosmology as I contemplated the El Nino weather patterns. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 17 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 106. It seemed almost ripples of water. Then, I looked at IC 2098. It was even more difficult than all the other smudges I've ever looked at. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I jumped to B 140. It appeared in the eyepiece like lumpy darkness. Then, for a real challenge, I looked for and suspected Abell 13 in Orion. It was as bright as smoke signals from a rampaging Iroquois band. After that, I studied IC 3195. It was as bright as whispy tendrils of nebulosity. Then, for a real challenge, I jumped to B 102 in Serpens. It reminded me of a glimmer of the Big Bang. After that, I looked at NGC 2235. It appeared at low power like diamonds on black velvet. After that, I hunted for NGC 2461 in Ursa Major. It reminded me of a glimmer of the Big Bang. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I added to my logbook NGC 4488 in Hydra. It gave the appearance of an edge-on barred spiral with a sharp dust lane.

After a short break to listen to the coyote symphony in the distance, I stumbled upon Abell 77. It was not quite as bright as dancing elephants. With that checked off my list, I tried Abell 76 in an unknown constellation that looked like a toaster. It reminded me of that graph in An Unpleasant Truth.

After a short break to check my email, I tried for IC 328 in Ursa Minor. It was not quite as bright as a swarm of bees. With that checked off my list, I tracked down M 108 in Camelopardalis. It was a dead ringer for its Hubble photograph. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I identified B 265. It was even more difficult than dancing elephants. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I had a chance to see NGC 643. It gave the appearance of a dodo bird, extinct but for this celestial likeness. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I logged Abell 78. It appeared in the eyepiece like two scoops of spumoni ice cream. Then, for a real challenge, I showed some guests NGC 1013. It seemed most like a spitting cobra. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I identified B 637. It appeared at low power like the clouds I'd seen earlier. Then, I had a chance to see NGC 4846 in Ursa Major. It appeared as cream being swirled into hot coffee. Then, I added to my logbook Abell 95. It reminded me of 60 grit carborundum on asphalt. Then, for a real challenge, I identified M 24. It was as bright as Dubya.

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 poetry reading marathon.


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

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