>Curt was that you I saw(like me that was sent away from the state park)? I
>was also disorganised & I guess we were in the same campground. I got there
>I think about 9pm. Andy the spot I set up had was a bit obstructed but had a
>good view to the south.
I don't quite know whether it was me you saw. I wasn't sent away
from the state park but I was at the observatory campground. We came
in about 9:30 after wandering around a bit up the observatory road.
Upon entering the campground we made the first left and just pulled
into the open area to the left of that road. I am not familiar with
the campground and I didn't want to be too disruptive to those
staying there. It seemed to be a picnic area rather than campsite.
We just took out my 4.5 and 6" newts in the parking area there.
Viewing was pretty good from that site. No cars came by for the
three hours we were there (lucky I guess). The view was quite
obstructed by trees to the east but views to the North, West and
South were reasonable (didn't note the extent of obstruction at the
horizon but I'm going to guess about 20 degrees). The skies were
quite transparent and still but I felt the limiting magnitude was
around 5.5 (again, I forgot to figure this out. I need to develop
these habits). The Milky Way was very apparent and beautiful!
Since I thought until the last minute this trip wasn't happening I
never made a plan. Started out by finding a few old friends (M13,
M92, epsilon Lyr, M57). I guess I haven't been doing this long
enough to really call them old friends but previously viewed. All
were easily found in the 30mm Ultima at 30X, the clusters were easy
to pick up granularity in at 100X in the 9mm ortho. M57 was very
nice in the barlowed 30mm and withstood 200X with the barlowed ortho
at 200X in the 6" f/6 Dob. This scope, our new ATM project, is
behaving admirably. Epsilon Lyr was easily split in at 200X (the
first time I felt I could see dark between the doubles although it
took patience). I then spent some time wandering around Cygnus for
the first time (you can see I'm relatively new at this game). The
veil nebula was easily visible but faint in the outer stretches of
Cygnus' wing. I tried to find the Wild Duck cluster but didn't know
what I was looking for. The richness of stars in the Milky Way gave
me the feeling that I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Also
took a look at Albireo, that beautiful blue/white and orange double,
one of the prettiest I have seen.
I didn't spend much time with the 4.5 newt (the Autostar might have
helped me move through the sky faster but I still need the
starhopping experience). I did take the time to check out my new 2"
19 mm SWA Russell Optical eyepiece ($60). Unfortunately, I have to
use it in the 4.5" since I don't have a 2" focuser in the 6". The
12.5 project will have a 2" so that one will take these. I don't
like the 19mm near as much as the 13mm from Russell (I really like
this one) after using them side by side. I find it to be
significantly less sharp across the field and less contrasty. I
don't know if I have a "lemon" but I will have to talk to Gary about
I also picked up both my old 7X35 nikon wide angle binos and my new
9X60 chinese binos I picked up recently from Gary Russell ($95). I
looked at both M57 and M13 in these and the 7X35s. I could find them
in both. Although the 9X60s showed a noticeable improvement in
brightness it was not a significant as I expected (reasonable
expectations?). I have to say, despite their much smaller aperture
and their significant alignment problems I still like the 7X35s
better. I guess the thing is I really don't like the 9X60s. I find
I have difficulty getting a comfortable interpupillary distance that
is useable. The eyecups are too close when the distance is correct.
I also find them to be less bright and to lack the spacewalk feeling
(5 deg vs 9 deg FOV, I should have expected that). I don't find the
weight or the general finish of the binos to be a problem but I don't
find the viewing experience satisfying. Color correction is good but
the image degrades very noticeably toward the edges. I will have to
look through other binos in this range to get a better feeling for
where these stands but as it is they don't satisfy me.
Well, all in all a very nice and informative night.
Sorry for going on and on. I am going to send some of these comments
to other groups so I just jotted them all down as a report here. Are
we posting local viewing reports here?