Friday Night Viewing
Kirby Storter Roadside Park in Collier County Florida
March 19, 2010
This was the first clear evening in what seems like forever, and it even occurred on the day of a scheduled outing -- amazing. I arrived on the scene just as the sun was dipping behind the distant treetops, and I was surprised to find the parking lot completely packed with cars. I parked off to the side and walked down to talk with the two park rangers who seemed to be in charge of the rather large crowd of patrons. I learned that the rangers were about to lead the group on an hour-long sunset to darkness sojourn through the Everglades. I told them I would be setting up my telescope and when they returned I would treat them to a complementary tour of the night sky. I had just completed my polar alignment when they suddenly reappeared on the scene. All of them enjoyed looking at the assorted clusters and nebula, but I'm afraid that for many of them my bright green laser pointer was the most interesting part of my presentation.
Eventually the crowd dissipated and I was able to get down to the business of capturing a few more luscious pictures of the night sky. Most of the bright emission nebulae of the Winter Milky Way are already too low in the west to be suitable targets, and the multitude of goodies in the Summer Milky Way won't be up for a couple more months, so I spent the night shooting clusters and a few galaxies. Here are the six pictures I managed to click off before my batteries all went dead.
Fred and I went out to Kirby Storter Roadside Park on Friday, March 21, 2010. I arrived about 8:30 and Fred was already there and taking a number of visitors to the park on a tour of the night sky on his computer. They were suitably impressed.
The weather was beautiful, temps started about 65 and dropped to 50 degrees or so. There was almost no wind. Sky was clear and the air was stable.
I mounted my AT106 triplet on my Fredified CG5at mount and imaged M101, Monkey Head, Leo Trio and Omega Centauri. Iím currently processing the images.
We left at 5am.