Friday, August 19th Cates Hill

Sky conditions were absolutely pristine last night. There was no cloud, moisture or smoke whatsoever in the sky, a rare occurrence on the wet (west) coast. I observed from approximately 9:45 until 11:45; a very small window of semi darkness. I set up the 8inch Sky Watcher Dobsonian and did a brief columnation of the 10×50 finderscope, only to discover that the lens appears fogged. Further investigation is needed.

I was very surprised to view several objects with stunning clarity and excellent brightness for such less-than-perfect darkness conditions. I had no trouble whatsoever finding the The Whirlpool Galaxy underneath the handle of the Big Dipper, with a bright core in the primary galaxy, and excellent surface brightness across the disc of the second galaxy. M31 and M32, along with NGC205 were stunning in brightness, all visible within the same field, with NGC205 really showing excellent wispy structure and unusually bright surface area as well.

These aren’t the usual views through an 8 inch telescope. It was an amazing brief night of viewing proving that the site is worthy of regular viewing because of large horizon, lack of local nearby neighbor light pollution, and what seems to be a meteorologicly clean air site for keeping a moistuire free atmosphere right overhead. This beats the meadows so far hands down.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of the moon rising above what I am guessing to be Cypress Mountain. Not the best but all attempts are successful attempts when one is learning the ropes where there camera’s and astrophotography are concerned.

A wonderfully successful night indeed! And oh… did I forget to mention the peace, quiet and solitude to be enjoyed up there. It makes for a very intimate encounter with the heavens above.

Clear Skies & Happy Star Trails!