With the weather quite balmy, and clear skies, about a dozen lucky observers descended upon North Turramurra Golf Course for a pleasant night’s observing. The dobsonian was king, with all standard sizes being represented, ranging from 6 inches, through 8, 10, 12 up to 16 inches, the latter with two fine examples. The 8 incher was a shiny brand new scope and help was given by NSAS members to get the finder scope aligned and to point out some of the main targets in the sky at this time of year. One of the 16s arrived in a sedan and it was intriguing to see its large base being assembled from a flat packed state then later on disassembled and packed back in the car. Pete’s 12″ goto dob kept disconcertingly slewing to things even though no-one was anywhere near it, but it was really just Pete showing off his Ipad/SkyFi system from 10 metres away.
A good range of objects were observed, from the usual suspects such as Orion Nebula (for the early arrivals only), Mars, Saturn, Omega Centauri, the Jewel Box, and Eta Carina; a few planetary nebula such as the Blue Planetary, the Ghost of Jupiter, and the Bug Nebula; globular clusters such as M22, M28, M4; some open clusters such as M7; galaxies such as the Leo Triplet (M65, M66 and a fairly faint NGC 3628 seen using averted imagination), the Sombrero (M104), and some members of Markarian’s chain of Galaxies including M84 and M86, plus many other objects too numerous to mention or remember. Some time (probably too long) was spent in a fruitless attempt to see the Dark Doodad Nebula near Musca, purely because we liked its name.
About half the observers were visitors, so there was a fair bit of chatting going on about scopes and observing, and comparing gear. Chris was doing a good job telling the visitors about NSAS’s activities.
The seeing was pretty good and we had a fun time at the end of the evening viewing Saturn through all the scopes. We could pick out the four moons Titan, Dione, Tethys and Rhea in the eyepiece, as well as the Cassini Division and some cloud banding on the planet.
All in all a very enjoyable evening.