Clear skies on the weekend

796px-Veil_nebula_lanoue This weekend had some more clear skies, and I had been warned well in advance.  I cleared the Saturday morning calendar, and packed up back out to Rattlesnake Lake with a bunch of the SAS guys for some viewing.

The seeing and transparency were phenomenal – a very stable atmosphere with not much crud in the air.  This makes astronomers happy!  The moon didn’t come up until 2am, so we had great darkness for a few hours.  Sadly, a bunch of the things I wanted to knock off my list were hiding behind a large hill to the southeast – I need to find a viewing site that has better horizons in that direction.

Just a few new Messier’s knocked off the list for tonight:

Favorite item of the night goes to M11.  I had just gotten done complaining to a few people how boring I thought open clusters were, and then I centered on M11.  Wow – it’s totally opened my eyes to how cool some open clusters can be.  This one’s definitely a new thing on my hit list of things to look at again.  Most disappointing thing: M80 – a tiny globular.  Most pleasing view: getting M59, M60, and NGC4638 in the same field of view.

67 Messier objects completed since November 2007.  Not bad – 3 more to go before I can file for the initial Astronomical League Messier certificate.  I’ll be at the Olympic Star Party on Hurricane Ridge this weekend, so I hope to knock out a bunch of the eastern ones that keep evading me at Rattlesnake.