- Hi folks,
I arrived at Blackbird last night around 7:30. Doug, Patrick, and Don were already there, set up and ready to go. The sky was clear, but I think we were all concerned about the clouds, given the partly cloudy forecast by some of the weather sites. Tony showed up around 8 and was set up before dark. The night was not disappointing. We all started off with M42, before the end of Astronomical twilight. Even with the sky not being fully dark, were were able to see the e and f stars in trap, in both Doug's C8 and my dob. The sky darkened and I started in Canis Major and Puppis. Open clusters 2362, 2354, M41, M93, M47, and M46 were all very nice. Stars in all of the clusters were bright and showed nice color. The nebula in M46 was a highlight for everyone. I also observed nebula 2467, which was relatively large with a nice surrounding star pattern.
As the night progressed, I moved on to galaxies. The Leo Triplet (M65/M66/3628), 3226/3227, M81/82, M108, 3738/3756, 3729/3718, 3631, 3998/3982, M51, M104, and M64. It was nice to see the bright showpiece galaxies again, but I tended to focus on galaxy pairs. I would tell you, galaxy season is now in full swing!
We ended the evening with a couple globs, M3 and M13 (just prior to packing up). I really took my time on M3, and ran it through all of my EPs, with each one providing a different experience. Stars were resolvable to the core of both M3 and M13, and various star patterns in the core emerged.
It had been months since we had a serious Blackbird observing session, and it was really nice to be back on the field with some really good people. As the weather warms, I'm hoping that more folks will join us!