Pages on the calendar turn and practice is few and far between. One significant occurrence is my ability to access both dark site observatory locations on my own (eg. I was granted solo access). The biggest upside here is that when the weather is nice, I can elect to exchange sleep for the long drive to/from the site and get a little exposure time in without coordinating with a larger group.
Last night, the moon was Waxing Gibbous, so it was around 85% of full. This makes even being at a “dark site” not so dark. None the less, it was a beautiful night. The temperature eventually dropped to the high 70’s with a slight breeze.
Initially I attempted 10 subs on the Veil nebula, but the moonlight prevented any deep imaging of fainter targets. I decided to try for a brighter DSO… one you can actually make out as a fuzzy blur with binoculars just to the side of the constellation Sagitta (Latin for “arrow” and not related in any way to the larger constellation Sagittarius). Messier 27, or the Dumbbell Nebula (NGC 6853) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, at a distance of about 1,360 light years. This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. It is sometimes also referred to as the Apple Core Nebula.