Well, last week they did it to me again!! This time for TWO days.
I was ready this time. I had my SQM meter and took readings all night! My readings ranged from 21.77 to 21.9 leaning to the higher end.
Again, what a THRILL!!! The first night I concentrated on objects I really wanted to hit the first time, ie. galaxies, galaxy clusters that stuck out in my mind like Stephen's Quintet. Once again, it was like a photograph - not just the 3 usual, but all of them, even the one off to the side. I NGC 7331 was a real treat, FINALLY not just a glow, but detail...
The real fun happened the 2nd night as I spent the day in between PREPARING for that next night. I went through all my favorite books and eeked out 160 potential objects that I wanted to see... Not that I would be able to knock out that many.... but I wanted OPTIONS! I put the list in Sky Safari, and was ready to go when it got dark. The 2nd nights SQM readings were the same as the first night. There were some differences; the night started out with some high cirrus clouds that made these eerie tenuous inky black threads blocking out the masses of stars... it was WEIRD!
For starters I decided to go back to M33 since it was at the zenith, expecting a repeat of the original blackout. Impossibly, it was BETTER! The spiral arms were so defined and full of H II regions, you could have spent an evening just observing the OBJECTS in M33! I was astounded. I was dying to go to NGC 891, which is usually a real killjoy. I was not disappointed. The view nearly brought a tear to my eye. For the first time in my life, it looked like the pictures I was so enamored with as a kid growing up watching "The Outer Limits." The dark lane was just "there" and the mottled structure of the galaxy pronounced.
Another favorite I went to was NGC 253, which is always pleasant to see and usually shows detail and is fairly bright. The view I had was what you always wished the ANDROMEDA GALAXY would look like! It was SUPER bright, full of detail and even BETTER detail than the pictures you see (without color, of course). I was really surprised!
I FINALLY tracked down Comet PanStars in Auriga. It was a nice sight. Very bright coma, short fanny tail. Looked great with the starry background of Auriga to show it off. Wish I could have seen Africano. Tried doing it with my C14 last month with 20.4 SQM skies, and I couldn't find it...
I saw lots of other stuff - over 36 objects - galaxy clusters (Fornax A), Perseus Cluster, a DIZZYING number of UMa) , emission nebula, etc... but what a night!!! It SUCKED to have no power but what a treat. Now we have a generator so the wife will be happier... On that note, she was, as always a real sweetie helping me get all set up - I picked a great spot some distance from the house where I had a GREAT horizon, and used the wheelbarrow handles to get her over there. The wife helped me get all my "accessories" back and fourth. Better yet, she kept the mochas coming! It was really great. Can't wait to get my Nexus DSC from Eyepieces.etc... I'll be able to knock out many more objects.
Looking forward to the NEXT time they kill my power. I'll be ready.
Bet it will be raining.