Paul & I looked through a bit of history, visiting the 40″ refracting telescope for an observing night. It was something I’d always wanted to do but never made time for when I lived in southern WI. The price to look through the old telescope is a little steep considering it’s an outdated refractor ($100/person); it seems to take advantage of those who just really want the experience (like me tonight) and maybe don’t know better. It hurt to shell out that kind of cash for an event I used to get paid for! Nonetheless, it was a really fun experience, and I can’t remember the last time I spent the better part of a night in an observatory (must really have been sometime in undergrad). Also, our docent was awesome and the decades of his amateur astronomy hobby showed in the knowledge he shared throughout the night. There was plenty I’d forgotten, was rusty on or just plain never knew!
It was a 1st quarter moon on a mostly clear night (but with somewhat poor seeing), so we looked at a heavily cratered area and Copernicus. Within our own solar system, we saw Neptune, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before! Triton was also very faintly visible alongside it. Ergo, it wasn’t as dark as it could be, but we still managed to check out some deep sky objects. We saw a globular cluster, the Saturn nebula, and the Andromeda galaxy.