I knew comet NEAT was around, but until today I haven’t looked for it (well, thats a lie. I did yesterday but it was cloudy).
Found it about 1-1/2 hours after sunset, just as the comet itself was about to set. IT WAS SO COOL! I am very suprised it isn’t getting more publicity. It was quite a sight in my lame-o 10x50 binocs. I didn’t bother grabbing Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] though, as it looked fine through binoculars. It’s about a magnitude 2.5, and a beautiful sight to behold. It’s sporting a nice tail from what I could make out, and I’m sure it would be quite a magnificent sight on a super dark evening, away from city lights. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get a better view of it before it goes away for good but I was quite happy with what I saw. I highly recomend anyone that can, go see it! You won’t regret it!
That primed me for the night - gorgeous, crisp cloud free evening, stars all coming out, bright moon overhead. Then I saw a very bright star underneath the Moon. It was Saturn! Well, say no more! Time for me to break out Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] and take a peek. I broke out my 25MM eyepiece and first sighted the Moon. Damn! I was almost blinded by the damn thing! GO AWAY MOON! I lined up my finderscope and quickly found Saturn. With the 25MM eyepiece (only a 50x mag) I could make out that it had rings and a moon (Titan?). I put in my 9MM eyepiece which gave me a magnification of 140x. I could easily make out the rings and the Cassini division and kind of an “orangy” color!. Wow, that was pretty cool!
Then I spotted Jupiter just coming over my house to the East. So, I slewed Bernse’s 10Inch-Scope-O-Doom[sup]TM[/sup] to it, and put the 25MM lens back in (50x). I could make out a quartet of Moons and a couple of cloud bands. I then put the 9MM (140x) and could easily make out some cloud bands and see a hint of color. I marveled at the sight for a bit. Then I was getting greedy. I pulled out my crappy 2X Barlow that came with an old Meade 4.5" scope I bought a few years back, and combined it with the 9MM piece.
As it was, I got a nice big disk in the eyepiece, but the detail was lacking (barlow’s fault = CHEAP CRAP). However, I think I am going to be pretty damn happy when my 6MM good Barlow arrives. That’ll give me about 420x, and I can’t wait to see Jupiter with it!
I was going to try and find the Andromeda Galaxy, but I had to eat yet and it was getting kind of cold (about -10C) out. I’ll have to save that until next time!