Montebello Observing Report 9/24/97


I had a tough day at work and was looking forward to a quite evening in my front yard gazing at Jupiter and Saturn. I was feeling a bit too lazy to load up the equipment.... clouds and all that... but wait... there was a message from Rich...he might be going.

Well if anyone else was going, I thought I would get up there ase well. And I did. The clouds looked terrible all the way up. But I had to remember that some of my best nights last year at the peak were similarly threatened.

I arrived at the site and found no one there but mountain bikers. It was almost dark and no other observers were present. I didn't quite no what to do so I thought that I would make sure that I had the correct combination to the lock in case I decided to stay.

No sooner had I verified the correct combination that Sandra returned from her walk. There were large patches of sky and conditions seemed very clear. I decided to set up.

I had packed my C8 which has been converted to run on the GP mount. I like this arrangement better because I can stand with very little bending to see objects. I have to bend the eyepiece down a bit for people shorter than me but overall I really like this set up the best for the SCT. Over the

Well, Sandra and I were not to be dissapointed. Although we spent the night chasing sucker holes in the clouds, it was extremely rewarding. The night was clear and the seeing was very good. My C8 now dialed in with textbook out of focus star images was doing better than it ever has done. For the first time, I have been able to see refractor like images of Jupiter (as compared to my 102mm Vixen). We watched the GRS transit the planet through the night.

Sandra and I talked about the heavens instead of guns, or special interest groups, or any of the other non astronomy stuff commonly discussed at viewing events. We discussed the names of stars and their magnitudes. She told me about her experiences at the peak counting meteors. And in between we chased down several objects in Sagitarius.

A good, dark, wide clear spot opened in Hercules and afforded us a wonderful peak of M92. The background was dark, the image crisp. I saw a pile of diamonds sparkling in the eyepiece. That was a first for the newly tuned scope. Never had I seen this object that clearly in a small aperature. Of course the evening sky was being very helpful as well.

After a while the clouds took up more and more of the sky so I packed up the scope and took out the field glasses. I layed back in my viewing chair while Sandra layed streched out in a sleeping bag and we both stared at the star fields in Cygnus directly overhead. We followed star patterns this way and that as she described objects that she was interested in.

Before we knew it, it was late. Since I had an early meeting planned, I had to leave. But I left feeling very happy and satisfied. I arrived home invigorated.