1997 June 4

It was kind of a ratty night. By sunset the clear afternoon had turned ominously foggy. Fortunately, the fog never covered us but it did make everything extremely wet. I had to run the dew heater all evening to keep my Meade LX200's corrector plate dry. Everything not protected in some way was dripping wet.

The seeing was not good, either. Several of us tried several times to see the companion of Antares with no luck; little detail was visible on Mars aside from a very faint polar cap. Several of us split Epsilon Lyrae but it looked ugly; I could split one of the halves of the other double-double Nu Scorpii but not the other.

But worst of all, the sky was very bright. The Milky Way was barely visible even at 45 degrees elevation. All points of the compass were bad, even to the south away from the city. M13 looked decent but not spectacular, NGC 6207 nearby was barely visible; no one even though of trying for IC 4617. I've seen it much better from my driveway in the middle of San Jose.

This was enough to make me think about giving up on "near town" star parties. But still, it's fun to be out under the stars even in crappy conditions. And there have been better nights. They will come again.

The best part of the night was meeting a few new faces to go with the email addresses on the Net.

[ This was first light for a couple of new Orion/Vixen 4 inch refractors. (New refractors bring dew, they aren't big enough to bring on real clouds ;) But I'll let Mike and Michelle tell their story. ]

Bill Arnett; last updated: 1997 Jun 5