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 Observing From Mountaintop Near Mountainburg
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lrjarhead
 Wednesday, January 13 2010 @ 10:08 am EST (Read 1467 times)  
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I had occaision to meet Mr. Frank Payton of rural Mountainburg who lives and owns property on a mountaintop East of Lake Ft. Smith. I asked and he graciously granted me permission to set up my scope in a field he owns off God's Ranch Road. Last night Leonard Lynch and I made an observing trip to this location after calling Mr. Payton to make sure it was okay. We arrived shortly before dark and noted about ten deer grazing in the field. Before darkness settled in this number would swell to twenty one! We set up at a spot about a hundred yards southwest from one residence and about four hundred yards northeast of the Payton house. It wasn't long before darkness set in and we were able to align the scope (9 1/4" Celestron SCT on a Celestron CGEM). The temperature dropped pretty quickly as the sun went down and we were clothed in everything we brought with us as we began alignment. Man, those eyepieces and steel telescope pieces were cooool, br......

Viewing was fantastic in spite of a couple pesky lights. We observed Jupiter (which is getting pretty low in the SW), Uranus, Globular Cluster M15, and of course, the Orion Nebula (M42). We used a 24mm Stratus EP (68 degree F.O.V.) and a Nagler 12 mm (80 degree F.O.V.), providing 96 X and 198 X, respectively. I even installed my new Meade 2" Telextender (barlow) with the Nagler and observed the Trapezium (Theta Orinus) at 392 X, which is getting very close to the upper limits of magnification for that scope. The night sky here is quite remarkable - very dark and it was fun juswt to look up and see the Milky Way and thousands of diamonds in the sky away from light polluted skies.

Our observing time lasted only about one hour (with one intervening warm up in the pick-up with hot coffee) before we succumbed to the cold and called it a night (I certainly grow in respect for all the Herschels and Tombaughs in Astronomy who observed for years, night after night in as cold or colder observing conditions).


 
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dgrosvold
 Wednesday, January 13 2010 @ 12:19 pm EST  
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Hey Mike -

Sounds like a great time. I'd love to come up there some time and see how it compares to my ranch location. I bet the sky was awesome up there last night. It sure was at my place.


Dave - Morrow, AR
 
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lrjarhead
 Wednesday, January 13 2010 @ 06:03 pm EST  
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Coordinates of the subject site:

35 39 42N
94 08 16W
Elev. 1,340 ft.

CS's,
Mike


 
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