Friday night was a wash due to rain and clouds. We built a fire in the cabin and enjoyed a good dinner. Saturday morning greeted us with snow falling. The fire was burning and I was checking weather through the spotty cell service. It was calling for a clear sky but I was less than confident as snow kept coming down. We used the time to install the hand control cable for the ServoCAT, I ordered from Charlie at Markless. At approximately 4:00 PM, I began to see blue sky. We had the Obsession set up next to the visitors center by 5:00 PM.
Stars were shinning bright! What an amazing day!
M-43 Orion Nebula-It was absolutely gorgeous this evening and super clear. Multiple gas clouds were extremely vivid. The trapezium stars were extremely bright. Easily, one of the best observations of it! Ethos 21mm 81X
M-39, M-52, M-34 and Pleiades. These open clusters were quite spectacular under the night sky! I kept the Ethos 21mm 81X in use and eventually switched to my TV Nagler 31mm 55X eyepiece to allow more of the complete clusters to spread out.
Andromeda Galaxy and M-110. The galaxies were super bright and we viewed them with the TV Nagler 31mm at 55X. I always enjoy viewing them and they are a good measure of the sky quality.
M-81 and M-82-Bode's Galaxy and it's companion may have been the first galaxies I ever saw when I started the hobby back in 2016. I being the novice I am, expected only 1 galaxy and was blown away when I spotted 2 at the same time. They continue to be favorites and the dark sky really made these a delight on this evening.
Terri and Steve returned to the cabin around 2100. What!!! Carrie and I stayed and continued observing.
M-1 Crab Nebula-The nebula was obvious in the sky. You could see two spiral shapes coming off of it but it wasn't overly detailed. Ethos 21mm 81X
M-97 Owl Nebula-We couldn't make out too much detail. It was oblong shaped. I tried the Ethos 21mm and the Nagler 31mm trying to tease out detail to no avail.
M-76 Little Dumbbell Nebula-It was definitely noticeable how the nebula got its name. Not much detail but enough. Nagler 31 mm at 51X.
At this point, it was nearing midnight and we decided to wrap it up after revisiting some of the earlier observations.
Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 Observation from home in Williamsburg, VA.
I started the evening with the Moon and snapped a few photos with my iPhone. Carrie and our neighbors, Peter and his family, walked down to observe with us. The kids really were excited to observe as they always are. It is so nice having the tracking function.
While we didn't have the 4-4.5 darker skies from the weekend before, we decided to concentrate on the same objects as the week before. I used SkyTools4 to give recommendations for best viewing times. I love this program and I'm really trying to learn the ins and outs.
The neighbors left around 2100 and Carrie retired for the evening around 2200. After she went in I stayed a bit longer until roughly 2300.
The highlight for me was M-36. I noticed nebula
I will be back at it tonight and also plan on rising at 0400 Sunday morning to observe some new