My observing report

As I drove up the winding road to Henry Coe State Park, I idly mused upon the subtle beauty of the universe as I contemplated the approaching chlorofluorocarbons ... would it be warmer tonight?. When I arrived at the parking lot, it was filled with friends eager for a night's observing. I counted at least 8 telescopes set up.

I started my night's observing with one of my favorite objects, M 108 in Septans. It seemed just like desert sand.

After a short break to recite my mantra, I hunted for NGC 4996 in Triangulum. It appeared at low power like its Hubble photograph. Then, I went for Abell 29 in Antlia. It would be easy to confuse with diamonds on black velvet. Next, I checked out NGC 3658 in Sculptor. It was a dead ringer for Smokey the Bear. With that checked off my list, I hunted for B 222. It was easy, just like that graph in An Unpleasant Truth. Then, for a real challenge, I tried B 197. It reminded me of one of Martha Stewart's doilies.

After a short break to recite my mantra, I checked off Abell 10. It seemed just like whispy tendrils of nebulosity. Next, I looked for and suspected IC 2571. It was like a little triangle. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I tried NGC 5217 in Serpens. It appeared at low power like Santa Claus. With that checked off my list, I tried for M 99. It looked exactly like fleecy wool. After that, I had a chance to see B 405 in Sagittarius. It looked uncannily like two scoops of spumoni ice cream. With that checked off my list, I hunted M 1. It somewhat resembled ripples of water. With that checked off my list, I nudged my telescope to B 561. It looked exactly like a hamburger. (Hmm, it had been a while since dinner). After that, I found B 66. It looked exactly like blackness. Then, I looked for and suspected NGC 420. It appeared to be blackness. With that checked off my list, I jumped to Abell 45. It shimmered, as if it were a Black Rider hunting for Frodo. Then, for a real challenge, I located Abell 79. It was better than a UFO. After that, I checked off Abell 42. It appeared at low power like a swarm of bees. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I helped a beginner find NGC 2886. It was better than all the other smudges I've ever looked at. Then, I hunted IC 904. It gave the appearance of yet another globular. After I'd spent a few minutes looking at that, I had a chance to see IC 2466. It compared favorably with cotton candy.

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 stacking 400 Mars images by hand.


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

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