I am surprised Kent has not files a report from last night's observing and old folks week. I had booked a night down in Coinjock at the KOA. Monday looked a sure bet for weather and I figured that no one would be camping on Monday with a 40 degree night.
I arrived early at the site in order to seize a camping spot where I used to set up in the Cedars. I thought I should hedge my bets and prevent anyone from starting a fire where it would spoil the view. I need not have worried. No one came at all as I had predicted. I knew Kent and Bob might join me down there in the evening. I spent a quiet day reading in 60 degree weather undisturbed. The cedars are as they were before. The rest of the campground has been remarkably changed but as Kent said the outside lighting has been modified for a more night friendly illumination. More on that later.
I was quite happy to be back but with the coming of the long shadows at 5 in the afternoon I think I understand what the Native Americans say about the landscape being haunted by ghosts of their ancestors. As you remember that was the time most people started filing into the cedars back in the old days but it was only me left standing where so many once were; now only ghosts. It had not occurred to me to feel this way, unbidden, until the sun started to set but I swear it was distinctly strange to be there alone as none of you all were there anymore.
Yes there are ghosts and they do inhabit the land. You just have to be there at the right time and listen. Fortunately Kent and Bob pulled up just as too many memories were coming up.
We set up my 4 inch and Kent broke out his 25. Kent had informed me he though it was darker than before since the new lighting had been installed. Also there is less traffic due to the different population at the camp ground, most of whom had gone for the season. Kent was right. I think it is much darker now.
I believe Kent is late in his narrative due to all the stars looking like planetaries in somewhat poor seeing. He has a zillion sightings to report. Here my four inch had the advantage. Seeing did not really affect me as much using small aperture. The difference between the 3 and 25 seeing wise was remarkable. It was a huge pleasure to observe again under dark skies. You never really know what your scope can do until you get in the right place. I was able to see most galaxies Kent was chasing if not define them quite as much. In 10 transparency there were an infinite supply of galaxies and nebula to be see even in a 4 inch. And even one new comet.
I will let Kent provide a more comprehensive list of objects but the highlights for me were the bubble nebula, a combination of open cluster and nebula called the "spider and the fly" in Auriga, NGC 235 way down south in both the 4 and the 25 almost through the trees. I had never spent much time on the bubble for some reason but last night it was easy the Televue with a Baader UHC. Just an amazing delicate object. You first see the bright clutch of stars but then the bubble come clear with a bit of patience, a transparent soap bubble in the sky. Many galaxies were seen, too many to mention without getting boring.
And oh yes, that comet Atlas in Orion. There had been some discussion as the magnitude of it. Kent and I agreed it was 9th magnitude and a fine telescopic comet. It is a wide fan shape with a fainter tail that does extend a bit of distance from the head. Last night it was close on to a 7th magnitude star and at low power merged into the star. It does respond to a comet filter which helps show the wide fan of a tail. Easily seen in the 4 and 25. Kent and Bob left around 1030 and I stayed the night. I quit around midnight exhausted. The milky ways just blazed overhead. It was worth the 50$ a night for camping in that sky. The final parting shot was at midnight a dinosaur killing meteor just blazed east to west under Orion. It lit up the campground. I have never seen such a wide wide path. It looked like smoke was rolling off it. It lasted forever in a huge wide green streak. That was the largest one I have ever seen.
Left the haunted ground at 730 this morning to go back to VB.