Sunday, August 20, 2006

last night at Awenda

Down at the dock. Not a cloud in the sky.

It's windy! It produced a bit of 'scope shake (or was that from the kids on the dock). But it also meant no mozzies! Thank the gods! About half-way through the session I removed the dew cap tube to reduce shake. It worked. Fortunately, I did not need it for most of the evening.

(The little digital did good!)

70% humidity.
21°C (although it was in my pocket beforehand).

The dock faces 324° exactly.
naked eye
Bushnell 7x50 binoculars on tripod
Celestron 8-inch SCT on Vixen Super Polaris by star hopping
8:51 - super bright white object slightly east of Lyra heading n-e. Was that ISS?

(Confirmed! says for Barrie location the ISS would have be visible on Sun, Aug 20 at 08:46 PM local time for 6 minutes reaching a max. elevation angle of 77°, starting from 10° above the SW direction and departing at 10° above the ENE.)

9:05 - another bright satellite heading s-e, passing 10° below Altair. 9:27 - another satellite passing north within ½° of Polaris, coming from Ophiucius.

I need chain or strap for eyeglasses. I had them constantly on and off. I thought this first at Mom's but I guess I did not write it down.

Watched Jupiter through the evening. Soon after sunset, I picked it up through the trees to the left of the dock. Periodically, between the leaves, I'd get a moment of good seeing.

By 10:00pm Jupiter was less than 10° up: the atmospheric distortion is getting quite bad...


Looked at Polaris double star combination: beautiful! I could get used to this. The yellow star looked a lot bigger than the blue one. As I upped the power the yellow and blue became the similar sizes. You know, the bright one is more gold...

Ha ha, was going for κ (kappa) Her but accidentally looked up κ (kappa) Boötes in SkyGuide. Fortunately, it (κ, or iota, Boötes) was a double star! Pale yellow and pink or orange! Very pretty. SEDS describes κ as white-yellowish pair.

δ (delta) Herc: pale green? OK, violet? no, blue white...

Some of the target notes I had made for doubles didn't seem right. Typos or transcription errors on my part? Or bad sources? I need to look into that.

more Messier

Messier 101 (M101), a spiral? easy? ha! very faint...

Messier 97 (M97), the Owl Nebula, very faint, can see light and dark patterns.

Messier 52 (M52) is a pretty but loose OC of blue stars, there's one brighter orangey star, middle top.

There is something between Cas and Per, an open cluster perhaps? Lots of blue stars. [ed. The Double Cluster.]

wrapping up

At 1:00am we hit the dew point... I put the heaters on after some debate. OK. I was done, tired at 1:25.

Ironically, at 1:45, we started getting some light blue and green aurora in the north-west running increasingly through the north. Came and went, ebbing. Sometimes when it faded it went a beautiful deep violet! The north and n-e sky is glowing green.

I acted very selfishly tonight, perhaps. Just after I set up some teens came down to the dock. They knew about satellites and meteors and periodically lay on a bench to stare straight up. I couldn't tell if they were lingering or enjoying the view. But I just did not want to offer them a look, as Jupiter finally cleared the trees. Later a family came down draped in glow sticks. Am I gun shy of kids (with sticky fingers) now?

The security guard that I met the other night returned. He and I chatted again. He had a partner with him this time. He asked if I could show him some stuff. So, off to Jupiter. Then, after a slight delay on my part, Messier 57 (M57). That was awesome actually. It was very clear! I could see variations in the ring. And a brightening in the centre. It improved with the 18mm. And finally we visited the Andromeda galaxy. We couldn't remember if it was 2.3 or 23 million light years away.

While security was there another family came down. The husband started asking me questions! He told me that for a recent anniversary gift he received a telescope, which he described as tiny, compared to mine. Still, I felt compelled to help him. Gave him some tips, answered his question of how to find the Little Dipper, encouraged him to research online, told him about

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