Friday, August 04, 2006

the big day

I arrived at Mom's Friday mid-day and in short order started preparing. My detailed astronomy plan called for readying telescopes and related equipment and accessories for a Friday evening-to-sunrise all-nighter observing session! Woo hoo! Weather permitting, of course. And the weather was looking stunning.

Among other things, I had to yet to review my double-star charts and notes for photographic exposure times (for trails and planets).

After astronomy prep, I'd have time to set up for other day-time activities, including observing sun spots, pitching my tent in the backyard, and getting beer. So frantic car unpacking began.


I asked Mom for her Mylar solar glasses but she couldn't remember where they were. In fact, she could not even remember what they looked like. Has she lost or misplaced them?

Did I keep them? Have I gotten my wires crossed: did I not get them for her? Did I give them instead to Lisa or Grace?


I remembered to test the batteries in my Pentax Spotmatic film camera bodies. It's been a while since I've used these cameras. Ironically, I think the film in them has some astronomical shots...


Late Friday afternoon I suddenly remembered my sister had a light box for viewing slides so I asked if she could bring it over when she was planning on dropping by for dinner. My intention was to test drive the light box with the loose sheets of the Tirion SkyAtlas Field Edition and to get ideas for one of my own design. But I never got around to actually unpacking it... Oops.

More on this later...


I prepared fairly well for the big event.
  • Recon'ed locations. I decided against the front yard or driveway for tracking Mercury and Venus. It would be too bright with the road lights (and cars). The desk would be the hub of operations. And I could shoot the trails photo from the backyard with Mom's house in the background.
  • Turned off all of Mom's external and security lights including the driveway/garage light, the cellar door light, and the street light in the front yard.
  • Had both telescopes (newtonian reflector and schmidt-cassegrain catadioptric) setup and ready to go.
  • AC power to newt clock drive. AC power to the laptop computer.
  • Red flashlights at the ready.
  • Tripods ready. Binos mounted on the big set.
  • Dew heater system ready to go. Portable batteries (mine and a loaner) ready to go.
  • Charts, notes, objective sheets, palmtop ready on the patio table.
  • Noted sunrise and sunset times: 6:20am and 8:40pm.
  • Noted "other" activities: when our visitors from Michigan were arriving and departing, Friday and Sunday; and when the local big Disc Golf tournee was, which kept my sis (registrar) and bro-in-law (part organiser and player) very busy.
In fact, it looked like a local club was having a star party!

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