(IAAC) Obj: NGC 4886, NGC 4898, NGC 4889 - Inst: 20" F/4 Dob
Observing Report - Cherry Springs - May 5 & 6
On May 5th fellow ASH Member Tony Donnangelo and I drove up to Cherry Springs
State Park, for the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg's "No Frills" Star
The 4 hour drive was rather interesting, and scenic to say the least. When we
arrived at Cherry Springs we were impressed to see a ride array of scopes
already set up. As a background on this site it is in Northern Pennsylvania,
and the skies there are regarded as the darkest in the area. The site is 2400
feet above sea level, and at coordinates:
Lat.: 41 39' 46"
Long: 77 49' 24" W.
A few people estimated magnitude to be approximately 6.3/6.5/6.8 +.
We set up camp and the clouds that didn't look like they were going to clear
out, did, and gave us a Fair/Good Night, the transparency was not as good as
it could have been, but the skies were dark.
Many meteors were seen on this night, including a rather impressive bolide,
that had everyone cheering, this made the whole trip worth it. This Bolide
originated in the NE about 25 degrees or so. Brightness was approximately -9+
magnitude and was the general consensus of people there. Two Sonic Booms were
heard by several after it had dimmed. The exciting part was when the meteor
broke in half and continued to fall. It started out rather Green and tinges
of Yellow were seen and eventually a bluish green color. This was a GREAT
That night I was many things including M44 through my C8, and binoculars
which was even quite impressive naked eye. I viewed this at approximately 51X
through my scope, and with 7 x 35 binoculars.
I also had rather impressive views of M3 (at 51X and 81x), M13 (51X), M-57
(51x, 81x, 240x), M97, M104, M51, M27, M109, M101, M106, M109, M64, M81, M82,
and NGC 4886 - NGC 4898 - NGC 4889 - all were seen in the same field through
a 20" F/4 Dob with a 7 mm Nagler at 334 X. 4889 was the main, while the 2
others had low surface brightness. These were in Virgo. My goal this night
was to concentrate on logging globulars, but at around 1:15 AM the
transparency begin to fade so I decided I'd go to bed for an hour wakeup and
see how it was. I went to bed got up and the transparency was playing games
so I decided to sleep and hope tomorrow would be a better night. I couldn't
hesitate to admire the beauty of the Milky Way from the tent as I laid there.
I was easily awoken at 8:00 AM by the heat of the sun, both days the
temperature was 85-90 degrees! The temperature at night was around 40 degrees
+. Very Comfortable!
That day I ventured to the PA Grand Canyon, and enjoyed the geological beauty!
I came back and the skies begin to clear out, and MANY MANY more people
showed up, I'd estimate Saturday Night at one point there were 100 people
That night I had astonishing views of Sephrets Sextet through a 24" Dob, the
Veil (NGC 6992 & 6995) through many scopes, the Dumbbell (M27) , Various
Globulars in Sagittarius & Scorpius, the Whale and Fishhook Galaxy through G.
Honis' 20" Dob, the Wild Duck Cluster through many telescopes including a 12"
& 10" Meade LX200, and a 6" Astrophysics Starfire. I also had some impressive
views of M-13, M-5, M-57, M8, the "Sunflower" Cluster, and a -7 Iridium
flare, among many others.
I retired at around 3:15 AM this night.
The Milky Way is viewed excellently from this site, and with Binos structure
is easily seen (dark areas, etc....).
It was also excellent to see Crater from this site as where I live it is not
seen. Coma Berenices looked excellent naked eye, and this whole trip was
totally worth it, and I will definitely do it again!
I arrived home at approximately 3:00 on May 7th. Two totally wonderful nights
of observing, at one of the BEST sites in the area!
Thanks also to everyone who ventured out, and allowed people to view things
through their scopes.
Ted A. Nichols II
- Junior Liaison
- Public Outreach & Star Parties
- 2000 Member Picnic Coordinator
- S4 Star Party Coordinator
Astronomical Society of Harrisburg
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