Sunday, April 29, 2012

helped IAD '12 at DDO (Richmond Hill)

I helped at International Astronomy Day party at David Dunlap Observatory.

Arrived about 7 PM. Some people were leaving. Like a shift change. Phil left. Earlier in the day, they had done solar observing.

The night shift was comprised of Tom, Bryon, Ed, Michelle, Sharmin, Shawn, Bill, Guy, Paul, Karen, Diane, Rajesh, Chris, Dave, Katrina, Ralph, Charles, Steve, Nicole, Gilles, Brenda, Eric, and others. They were either helping with logistics or flying 'scopes.

Took my 8". First time in a long time. As I was putting out the extension cord and power bar, it was then I realised I had forgotten the power supply. Damn. Or the lead acid power tank. Double damn. No way to drive the 'scope. Neither did I have the C battery pack. Or C batteries for that matter. Grrr. So if I wanted to track, I would have to do it. Old school. I wasn't completely surprised as it was a bit of a last-minute decision to go. And consequently a rapid pack. Still, felt frustrated.

Viewed the Moon to help align the finder scope.

Noted Ptolemaeus in the southern hemisphere. Large carter. Extremely smooth flat floor. Very interesting long shadows. Must have high walls with some breaks. Spotted rilles in Mare Vaporum. Some tiny craters. It was a surprising view. Very steady. Fantastic seeing. Incredible resolution. Best I had ever seen.

I hate the Moon.

For the longest time, I was polar aligned on a completely wrong part of the sky.

To members of the general public, I showed the Moon, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Algieba (not Porrima). Wasn't really feeling on my game. Did not have some of my "fast facts" ready.

We enjoyed two Iridium flares. And the International Space Station briefly...

Tried to figure out Saturn's moons. Titan was obvious. Steve showed me Gas Giants on the iPhone. Nice app. But not free.

At the pub after, Paul thanked us.


Laser pointer (1 of 2) was finicky all night. No surprise there.


Looked through Chris's LS 8" a couple of times. The idea of the Light Switch is intriguing, an automatic aligning 'scope. Just turn it on. But he said there are issues. It is very sensitive magnetically. Underground power lines will throw it off! Wow. And there's no one to override it. Oh, not good. And the single arm design is a problem. Not stable, he said. I saw that first hand when trying to focus. Incredible vibration.


Chris liked my red blinkies, the Kick Me Not tripod leg lights...

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