Monday, April 5, 1999
VTC Campus

We took the Celestron five and a half inch out tonight at 8:30. Bear, Dave, Kevin, Travis, Sam, and Fred were in attendance. We were behind Morey Hall next to the Kitchen doors. We took quite a good look at the Orion nebula M42 at 20x and 40x (a lot of 40x). Trapezium was very small but still crisp and fairly easy to pick out. The scope is a bit of a pain to focus with the knobs' gear wearing down and all, but the resolution tonight was teriffic. The scope may not have as big of a problem as we think, it may just be because it focuses hard. With patience we got some good views. Kevin Pointed out that the nebula looked fairly blue. We all agreed. It had a definite shape as well, like a round shape with a smaller finger shape cut out of it. Beautiful. We're impressed with that scope. We also looked at M43. We took a quick look at Venus. It was a bright little dot at 40x. Crisp none the less. Dave brought his binoculars. Thanks Dave! Those things work great. They have a lot of magnification. I'd love to know the specs on them. After looking at M42 Fred found M31 in the binoculars. Kevin Found M31 in them too. Fred then found M31 with the scope (big pain without a finder scope). Everyone got a good look at it at 40x. A fuzzy cloud of light. Fred fiddled trying to locate the owl nebula but gave up after a few minutes. 40x probably isn't enough to see it well with. We were outside until 9:30. M42 and M31 were the big excitement for us tonight. Fred also pointed out Gemini (twin heads Castor and Polux), Canis Minor (brightest star being Procyon), Polaris, Casseopia, the location of Triangulum, and the general location of the Own Nebul (M97 or NGC3587: Planetary nebula irregular. Magnitude: 11.20). That little bugger has been a pain to find. We had a great time tonight.

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