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   Craig Nance,
   Doug Summers

       Laura Kinoshita

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Viewing in Ocean View by Neil Paulsen
February 1 and 2, 2006 Observing Report

I just got back from two nights of viewing in Ocean View.

Wednesday night was not that great. It was overcast until midnight, but then I nap until 11:00pm anyway to let the moist air settle below my 4,700 foot elevation. It did clear up real nice but there was wind most of the night so the viewing was limited so Bill Brevoort and I checked out several lower elevation objects in Centaurus and Carina when the wind was bad and higher up during the lulls. Omega Centauri was spectacular as was the Eta Carina Nebula and M104 and M51 were also nice. Bill left around 3:00am but I stayed on until 4:30am with binoculars on M44 and M67 in Cancer and other similar wide angle objects then, as the wind died down towards dawn, I was able to check out Saturn and then Jupiter just before going to bed. It wasn't one of the better nights in Ocean View but after adapting for the periodic strong winds, we were able to get a lot of viewing in.

Thursday night was entirely different. It was one of those nights amateur astronomers on the mainland can only dream about. No wind. No stray light from neighbors or nearby development. An absolutely dark, dark sky. I got up, again, at 11:00pm and spent some time with Saturn. I could see the Cassini Division in its entirety. There were bands on the planet and structure on the rings and the darker inner rings kept coming in and out of view. I could clearly see six moons with three others glimmering in and out of view.

Rather than check my collimation again, I decided to try to split a few stars as a test. Started with the Trapezium and when power was increased, I clearly saw E with an occasional glimmer of F. I have seen A thru F clearly from Ocean View with glimpses of a seventh and eighth star but not last night. Easily split the companion to Rigel and the three star system in Orion's head. Then on to several more.

Then I started looking for galaxies and observed too many to list. M51 was as good as I've ever seen it. I used mostly a 7mm Nagler (325x) but used a 4.8mm Nagler (500x) for a short time but stuff flits across the field of view too fast with that much power. The spiral structure of M51 was spectacular. I found NGC 4945 in Centaurus and was able to see a few of the galaxies in the Centaurus Cluster. Looked at NGC 4038/39 in Corvus and hopped around several galaxies in the cluster on the Corvus/Crater border. Then started working thru the Messier galaxies in Leo. Had plans to move on to the Messier galaxies in Virgo but moved on to bed instead.

Last night was an example of why I have a lot and shack in Ocean View. I've been to a dozen star parties on the mainland and never had a night like last night on the mainland even at high elevation and last night wasn't as good as it gets in Ocean View.

Neil Paulsen

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