Wednesday, October 05, 2011

more solo observing (Toronto)

6:00 PM. Enjoyed dinner and some anime. While I was looking forward to more telescopic observing, I was also feeling cautious. I couldn't go too hard core tonight. I had to work tomorrow... training. So couldn't be too sleepy.

I fetched the rubber strap oil filter wrenches, both large and small, from the garage. This allowed me to finally detach the SCT t-ring from the William Optics 2" mirror. Crazy tight! Which, in turn, would let me use Phil's pressure-fit adapter instead. I will looking forward to being able to turn the mirror quickly and easily.

I put the weather station out on the deck. Earlier than last night.

7:41. It felt cooler tonight. I had already put on socks. Then I added another layer.

8:15. I considered collimating, but the seeing was terrible. Again. Deneb is swimming! I could barely see the on-focus diffraction rings with the Tele Vue Type 6 Nagler 9mm eyepiece.

Weird. In the high-power ocular I noticed that the stars were drifting rapidly.

8:36. I re-did my polar alignment.

I was on my way to NGC 559. I star hopped from ε (epsilon) Cassiopeiae. I found the little triangle in the finder scope. I switched to the telescope with the 36mm baader ocular. I was at the little isosceles triangle of HD 9105 (at the apex), and V636 Cas, and HD 9200. The cluster was nearby.

8:49. The skies tonight would not tolerate 200 power. I dropped down to 77x. I could only see a few stars of NGC 559 (aka Caldwell 8). It was not very exciting. This object came from the TLAO list. It is suggested to view it in "very dark skies." So, perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here.


9:02. I tried going for Sailboat Cluster (NGC 225?) but found the tree was covering γ (gamma) Cas.

9:37. Viewed NGC 7160. This was a suggestion from the Urban Astro Club list. A tiny little cluster of stars. About 10 bright ones and a bunch of faint ones.

Started the hop from α (alpha) Cephei (aka Alderamin) but overshot a little. Headed back to the little gentle arc of 18, 20, and 19 Cep, and then back toward α. Couldn't see anything in the finder. But it was pretty obvious at 55x.

9:53. I hunted for NGC 7243 near the Lacerta (aka Caldwell 16). Flipped over the meridian and panned around. Found 3 stars in a row, equally space, and a nearby crown. It looked like I landed on 2 Lac. 5 Lac was the bottom star.

Found it. Loose, large open cluster. Filled much of the field in the 36mm. A tight double was in the centre, two faint stars.

Jupiter was peeking through the branches...

Checked Stellarium 0.9 and SkyTools3 to see if anything interesting was going on with The King. Io was behind Jupiter. The GRS was rotating away, into the limb. No shadows. No, sadly, nothing dramatic. It took me a few minutes at the computer to figure that out, to simulate Jupiter.

10:17. By the time I returned to the telescope, Jupiter was already past "the window," the small gap to the east, between tree limbs.

10:26. I checked the atmospheric conditions with the Oregon Scientific weather station. It said the humidity was 74% and temperature was 10.3 degrees. The pressure was flat.

I began the star hop to NGC 7209. aka Cr 444 or Mel 238 or OCL 215. Made it. A D7 Klingon battle cruiser! Flying to the south! OK. A leap. But I saw a bunch of doubles, 3 pairs, parallel, forming the wing and engines, then two sets, perpendicular, forming the neck and head. There was a bright very orange star nearby. I thought, it must be a variable. It's HIP 109033 according to S09; HT Lac as per ST3.

That was kind of neat, finding things in The Lizard. And getting to know this faint constellation, near Cepheus.

10:41. I took another look at the Urban Astronomer Club list. Nothing was blowing my socks off, in terms of a target, within the limited piece of sky. So, I thought I'd wrap it up. Work day tomorrow. And I needed to be frosty...

One more. Just one more.

10:52. I viewed NGC 6910. Nice. It was a good object to finish on. And the sky is a little cleaner that way. I went to Deneb, by accident. Then to γ (Sadr). 6910, aka Cr 420 or OCL 181, was a small Y-shape of medium bright stars. There are 2 bright yellow stars within. And some very faint (mag 12) stars around. Pretty. Quite distinctive. Somewhat symmetrical. And so close to Sadr! About half a degree away.

The humidity was now 74%, temp 10.0, pressure same.

OK. It was time to pack up. Once again, I prepared to do a simple, rapid tear-down. It looked like it was to be clear again tomorrow. I brought the OTA, eyepieces, weather station, and power box inside. Everything else stayed out.

Perhaps I'll learn the SKYnyx tomorrow...

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