Twelve members took time out of their busy schedules to schlep their gear to DHO for a wonderful night on the hill. The temps outside hovered around freezing once the sun set, but the chartroom was heated and lots of home sapiens added to the warmth…both physically and mentally…and with Mike Z’s thoughtfulness, we had a plethora of Vitamin O modalities to explore…bakery-style, gluten free, and classic Oreo’s to keep us going throughout the night.
A few of the observers were die-hard astrophotographers, but there were quite a variety of stargeeks on the lawn. Mike F brought his lawn chair for naked-eye visual and poached glimpses from everyone else’s rigs. Mike Z had his binoculars for Mercury and lots of other targets, Doug F set up his rig and took pictures but I’ve forgotten what he was targeting, sorry. Shane had his DSLR for more Milky Way beauties, Chris and Evan F shot M51 Whirlpool galaxy for several hours to the glee of Evan, who smiled from ear to ear all night. Chris L, John R got their licks in with a few AP targets, while Tony K. and I did our EAA thing electronically sitting remotely in the Chartroom. Between us, I think we saw nearly all 12,000 galaxies in Virgo last night (just kidding), and we found the one-day-old supernova near M60 in Leo. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry…brain farts happen.
The newly installed Internet came in handy, too. We used it for live plate-solving to verify targets, online shopping, space news (new Supernova in Leo info), ambient “space” music to set the mood, in addition to having reliable phone calls, texting, and email reception.
Tony, John, Shane and I waited for Sagittarius to rise and I caught the first glimpse of my summertime favorites. The Eagle, Trifid, and Lagoon nebulae eventually rose above the treeline, it was well worth the wait! Tony K let me borrow his IDAS NBZ Nebula-enhancing filter for fast Hyperstar lenses, and it clearly outpaced my Optolong L-eXtreme narrowband (Ha-OIII) filter…even for targets below 13 degrees in altitude. The garish orange haze went away, and the deeper reds and peripheral nebulosity magically appeared. Even the “pillars-of-creation” popped out better. We were so impressed, I went online and bought one before packing up to come home. John R. bought my L-eXtreme and tried it out immediately, making us two happy campers.
After 2 late nights in a row, tonight I plan to try a redux of Thursday’s aborted attempt to see Mercury, Pleiades, and Comet Panstarrs (C2021-03) in the same frame at Selkirk Shores State Park along Lake Ontario. The show will be over by 9 PM and I’ll be home before the 11 o’clock news.
Here’s the best of last night’s extravaganza at DHO. Enjoy!