Observing Wednesday night

A very frustrating night! Transparency was poor, with clouds hovering around the horizon in almost all directions. Anything below about 15 degrees was in muck. Omega Centauri was disappointing as a result, and it was almost 1 am before the Saggitarius-scorpius region was high enough to look good.

On the flip side, seeing was awesome early in the evening, so Saturn was as steady as I’ve ever seen it. I had a hard time putting enough power on it – every eyepiece I have kept looking great. The 10mm Pentax looked like a photo, then the 7mm Nagler, then the 10mm with a 2x barlow I finally borrowed someone’s 3.7mm Ethos (that’s 561x in my scope!), and still the image was clear and crisp. I was almost tempted to try a powermate with the 3.7 Ethos, seeing was that good.

Unfortunately that was the highlight of the evening. The poor transparency made observing faint fuzzies very difficult even in large scopes, and clouds started to really encroach around 1:30, and we were completely socked in by 2 am. I have to admit I was extremely grumpy at the time, because we’ve only had two decent nights out of four, which is typical for Mid-Atlantic star parties, but TSP supposed to be this always clear Mecca of amateur astronomy. I kinda felt like I didn’t need to drive 1,800 miles for this level of frustration, I can get this at home! :-)

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