Tomorrow is likely to be my last session for a while. The Moon will set at 3:20 AM, and the sky is very clear. After that the Moon will be out most of the night, and by the time it starts to set early enough for an evening session, the smoke is sure to be covering the sky.
I decided it will be a stroll through bright(ish) spiral galaxies I haven't seen yet this season. Most of them are to the SE, and will be fairly high only just before first light. It will be a bit of a race to get them all in between about 4:30, when they'll start to get high enough, and 5:15, when the Sun will be 18 degrees below the horizon - astronomical twilight, it is said, though the other night I thought the sky to the NE was already washed out by 5:00 AM, mostly due to the zodiacal light.
The plan is:
- NGC 1300 at 4:15 (60 degrees alt) - should see the bar, hope to see at least a hint of the arms.
- NGC 1433 at 4:30 (45 degrees), a new target for me - it is said to show arms to the patient.
- NGC 1566 at 4:45 (35 degrees) - usually shows a nice loose S shape.
- NGC 1672 at 5:00 (30 degrees) - logged last season as a TIE fighter shape, with much detail. It was a bit higher, but the sky might be more transparent now...
I'll start with Uranus while sipping coffee and waiting for the last moon glow to fade. Between moonset and 4:30 I'll warm up for spiral arms with M33 and NGC 1365, which I have already observed the past few nights, stroll around the Fornax Cluster for a bit, and probably have a look at the eery Eye of Cleopatra. I'll close with the rising Orion Nebula, of course, and enjoy the reds and greens just to spite the deniers...