As I drove up the winding road to Dinosaur Point, I idly mused upon the socioeconomic impact of Doonsbury as I contemplated the approaching back of the front... would seeing and transparancy improve soon?. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 12 telescopes set up.
I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 52. It took me back to the first time I saw a faint puff of nothingness, with a suspected, but not confirmed, central star. Next, I checked out B 365. It appeared at low power like Miss Piggy. With that checked off my list, I tried NGC 5980. It was even more difficult than that graph in An Unpleasant Truth. Then, I tried Abell 28. It appeared at low power like an edge-on barred spiral with a sharp dust lane. With that checked off my list, I accidentally located B 91. It seemed almost a Black Rider hunting for Frodo. Then, I located B 257. It would be easy to confuse with a far-away cloud. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I logged NGC 4426. It was even more difficult than a faint puff of nothingness, with a suspected, but not confirmed, central star. Next, I checked off B 556. It was a blurry likeness of a smoke ring. Next, attacking my personal nemesis, I had a chance to see M 102. It seemed fainter than Dubya. Then, for a real challenge, I helped a beginner find Abell 46 in Hydra. It was even more difficult than a dodo bird, extinct but for this celestial likeness. Next, I looked at Abell 29 in Serpens. It looked like a far-away cloud. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I identified M 21 in Sagittarius. It compared favorably with the eye of God. After that, I identified NGC 4307. It appeared to be black pearls on flocked paper.
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 reading Beowulf in Old English.