Friday, April 21, 2006

Playing with Mother Nature

As Charlie and I continued with the comet hunt at TotL, Mother Nature was intent on making it even more challenging. We assessed the NE sky by the visibility, or lack of, of the brighter stars of Corona Borealis and Bootes. Alphecca was a real challenge at times while the other six stars of Corona Borealis remained hidden. As a result our attempts were abandoned early in the evening. The clouds first came in low similar to what the photo shows. They climbed up and over the celestial dome trimming away at the dimmer naked eye stars.

Instead showed the pedestrians - what else - ______-O-______.

I did some starhopping in Ursa Major, at one point targeting M106. This galaxy has been on my list for a while and this was maybe my third attempt. I wish I could say I suspected it at one point but was never able to get it back where I thought I saw it. I'll see next time because it would have formed an equilateral triangle with two stars in the field. It is an easier starhop than I originally thought and am now pretty comfortable with the starfields along the way. On previous hops I came in from chi UMa, but I found it much easier to hop from gamma UMa to 5 CVn to 3 CVn. The galaxy is about 1.5° south of there.

We packed up early and took off, letting Mother Nature have her way. As it would happen, the sky took a turn for the better as all our gear made it into our bags.

- peter