Friday, July 31, 2009

some planets (Blue Mountains)

OK. It looked like we might have good skies for the evening. John, David, Ian, Phil, and I were hoping to get some good observing in.

I had not napped though...

After dinner, I suddenly jumped up. Hey, we should be able to see Saturn. David thought I was nuts. But at 9:07 PM, in the day lit sky, with the C14 on the Paramount driven by TheSky6, we could see it. Just barely! The Ghost of Saturn?! It was tough with the rings edge-on. Actually, I thought I could see a thin dark line on the disc of the planet, which I surmised to be the shadow of the rings on Saturn. John concurred.

I turned to Mercury at 9:11. I could see a crescent or first-quarter phase through the murk.

At 9:27, we returned to Saturn. Titan visible now. Later Rhea came into view.

David let Jerry operate the C14 'scope. I kept an eye on him when David wasn't in the Warm Room...

At 10:53, we tried for Jupiter just as it rose above the horizon. The time was nigh if we wanted to see Great Black Spot. It was terribly distorted. Not surprisingly. No joy.

I got my first look-see through Phil's 15" Obsession. The view was very nice with great contrast and fantastic resolution. When he was aimed at the Moon, I took another gander. Fantastic detail (although the seeing was mucking it up). I said to Phil, "Hey, is that Copernicus in the centre?" After a moment, he confirmed that. Wow. I recognised a crater on Moon!

I spent some time near Phil and Ian on the observing pad. Took in the whole sky. Complained about the seeing. Commented on the curious sounds coming out of Ian's observing tent, how they reminded me of the sounds from the forest outside the French castle, in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. That's when the English were building their Trojan Rabbit. Ian was operating his new RC Astrograph.

At 11:04, I was yawning like crazy. I couldn't stop.

11:58. I helped Phil and Ian find Neptune. Easy to do with a netbook computer. I just wandered it over to the picnic table beside them and gave them details, directions, etc.

I was still tired and yawning. I drank a Red Bull.

No comments: