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Quite a night last night
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Clouds all day but by 8 all had gone through leaving us with a breezy but excellent night. Transparency was 10 for 10. Seeing was 10 for 10. Very rare to get both. No dew because of a breeze so all in all an exceptional night in the true sense of the word. Kent had his 25 and I had the 5 as usual.
Lots of doubles and open clusters were visited. I noticed I had not logged a lot of doubles in Monoceros . When you look at that region it seems nothing is there when in fact it is loaded wit open clusters and doubles. I need to spend more time down there. The closest double I did was 1.3 arc second equally matched stars. Just excellent conditions for this kind of work.
The big event of the night was when we decided to use the power of the 25 in perfect conditions to see if we could spot the 7th and possibly eight star in the Trapezium. These two are very very rarely seen being exceptionally difficult requiring the largest apertures and great conditions. Since we had 25 inches going for us and a 10 night we decided "you can't get a ticket". Well in short I think we saw the number 7 with extreme difficulty. We both reported the same observation in the right spot. So I have a 95% confidence level we did this 15th magnitude star in the corner of the trapezium. Why 95%? Well at this level of difficulty 100% would be rare to almost impossible visually. We were at 525X using 25 inches of aperture on the one night to do it. Even then it took multiple tries to ascertain there was a star at the point. At that power even any variation in seeing can erase the star from view. I spotted it three of four times. Kent seemed to verify it as many and as there is nothing there, if you see anything it must be it. As Sherlock Holmes said:
"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
We quit at 11. Kent suspiciously left the 25 set up and made some noises about 0230 and comets. I stayed up till 1 listening to a Cd and thought for a moment about going back over at that obscene hour. He must tell the rest of the story.
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