Thursday, April 14, 2005

Observing session: 4.13.05

I made the trek out to Camp High Road last night. It was a quick drive (only about 35 minutes) and easy to find. Below is what I wrote waiting for night fall.

7:35 pm I’m waiting for the sun to set. Jupiter is already visible. Well, the sun has already go down, but I’m waiting for daylight to fade entirely. The moon is high, lonesome, and beautiful. I found CHR with no problems. There is no on here at the moment, which is surprising. We’ll see if anyone else shows up. The field is large and affords a great view of a pretty much the entire sky. I’m overwhelmed but ready to start this observation session. There are coyotes (or foxes) in the distance with a lot to say.

8:05. Its finally getting dark and cool now. All the stars in the dipper are visible. The wild doggies continue to bark. I’m not convinced that Doobie isn’t out there with them. I hope the scope and/or eyepieces don’t get condensation on them as the air cools. We’ll see. I’m still the only one here. I’m listening to the Twilight Singers on my new iPod. Thanks Jen! Love ya, babe :) Its so beautiful and peaceful here, I cannot get over it.

8:15 I wish Zach was here. He’d be excited Watching the sky fade into night is filling me with a great sense of atmosphere. Any anxiety I felt earlier has completely faded - its time to set my sights on M51.

It was nearly 10:00. I was in the complete observing zone. I was hunting down M101 after spending a lot of time with M51. Suddenly, I heard a blood curdling shriek from somewhere nearby in the woods akin to a woman being visciously murdered. I was no longer alone, or so I felt. My rational side told me it was just a fox, they make some bizarrely humanesqe sounds. However, the irrational side of my mind, fueled by my overactive imagination, quickly took over. I don’t think I’ve ever packed my gear up so quickly.

As brief an observing session as it was, it was still extremely worthwhile. I see why people drive out to these great spots to set up their scopes and spend a few hours under the stars. The view was really unprecedented. Next time, I’ll just make sure I’m not alone in the dark.

Observing Location: Camp Highroad
Observing Date: 2/1/5
Observing time: 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Seeing: Average
Transparency: Average to Above average
Temperature: ~ 45'F