kay, went out with CFAS to the Geneva Gun Range for a clear-night sky with lots to see. And even after a year in this hobby, there is so much to learn.
For example, I need to mount a laser beam on the side of my spotter scope. The spotter scope is great for locking on big bright objects. However, for lesser ones (or at high angles) it gets harder. Tonight’s goal was M81, a galaxy just off the tip of the big dipper. And I looked and looked, but simply coudln’t get enough of a line up to go searching. Very frustrating. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a laser to let me light up and line up on sky areas so I can follow with a sweep. Never did find it.
I did find Mars (close approch, but low in the sky so it was kinda washed out), Jupiter and Saturn. Then, I just pushed the scope low to the south-east and caught a galaxy on blind luck. Not sure what I was looking at – possibly M6 but since they don’t come with side markings or subtitles, I could only guess. It was pretty cool – tracked him for about 45 minutes.
And then came my second learning experiece. We decided to leave just before midnight. However, the damn car lights up like the titantic moments before the iceburg. Just putting it into gear fires the headlights. And opening a door illuminates all manner of interior lights. I tried to back out from the line of astronomers and threw out more light than an alien mothership. Crap. Well, we’ll see if I’m still in that club next week. I promise that before the next event, I’ll get out my wife’s car manual and find out how to kill those features. Either that or bring a lot of electrical tape to block them. Or pop fuses. Anything. I’m such an idiot.
Anyway, still, great viewing not that far outside of Orlando. Glad we could come.