First (Successful!) Club Observing Event: 29 June 2019

The Santa Fe Stargazers had its first Observation Night at the “Lot 1″ site in Lamy NM.  The weather gods called for partly cloudy skies, with good seeing and fair transparency.  After a slow start to the event, the observational animals (members) came out as the evening progressed to unexpected clear skies and balmy summer night temperatures.  Attendees included members Robert, Tom, Betsy, Greg and guest Richard (who is a very experienced amateur). The crowds gathered around Robert’s 15” Dob like moths around an LED porch light.  At the end of the night (11:30) we had five folks looking for and finding various objects, including the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) – some claimed to see a green tint; the Ring Nebula (M57); the Wild Duck Cluster open cluster (M11); the globulars M4, M22, M13; galaxies M65/66 and M51; and double stars Alberio and the Double Double in Lyra.  Betsy’s Nikon binoculars were used heavily to scan the Milky Way.

Jupiter was especially fine at twilight, with distinct cloud bands, a few ruffles in the bands and the red spot being distinct. Seeing began steady and good, but by 11 pm had deteriorated, especially for Jupiter and Saturn, probably due to increased winds.

The Lot 1 site is a good location, with only a few sporadic light problems from passing cars and distant night lighting.  The site has a dark view east to the horizon, with light domes over Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and a small dome over the good old NM state penitentiary. Overall a very good site for being close-by to the city.

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