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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Observing at Prince of Wales March 13/2010

Observing time: 1910 to 2120

Attendance and scope
Mike Powel- 6 inch refractor about 5 feet long with go to capability.
Peter Jenson- 12 inch dob with a handheld go to device.
Doug and Karen- ? it was too dark to see their scope, but I could hear some motors whirring away in that direction.
Myself- 20x80 binos with tripod.

Conditions
4 degrees Celsius, slight wind, some high clouds to west and south. Viewing conditions not very good as there was turbulence at high levels which made things shimmer and hazy.

Highlight of the night
Observed ISS at 2033 from NW to E in binos. Could make out solar panels. It disappeared when it got to the Big Dipper.
Observed Iridium Flare at 2042. "Its like someone turned on a flashlight up there" according to Peter. It came from the NW and went to the SW. Flared for maybe 5 seconds.

On my own with binos.
Searched for Comet Lulin by the dim eye of Taurus the Bull. Compared to March 10 observing there appears to be one 'star' moving to the NW. It may be Lulin(Not confirmed).
Observed M42,M43, M45, M44, Calwell 14 N of Cassiopeia (Mike confirmed), Saturn, Mars, M31 and did scan for M objects south of Orion and scanned between Mars and Saturn for asteroid Vesta.

With Mikes scope.
Calwell 14, M81, M82, M31, M42, M36, M37, M38, M46, M35, M103, Saturn and Titan, and Mars. All the Messier objects except 42 and 43 (Nebula's) and 31, 81, 82 (galaxies), were star clusters. M103 was so tiny that it was not recognizable as a cluster. It looked like a tiny dipper.
Saturn's rings were very impressive as was Mars.

With Peters scope.
M81, M82, M42, and M43. Peter showed me how to use his go to device. Very cool! Simply input desired object from stored list, then look though eyepiece and light on the inside points in the direction of the desired object. When you locate it a bunch of lights light up. Very easy to use.

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