Friday, April 06, 2012

some solar system objects, some doubles (Blue Mountains)

10:45 PM, 5 Apr 2012. Dietmar was working in his SkyShed POD; Millie was set up in the Geoff Brown Observatory with her 8" RC. I connected the ASUS netbook to 14" Celestron SCT (with my USB-serial adapter). Fired up TheSky 6. Verified the port. And slewed into Orion.

Viewed M42 with the 55mm. The nebula was obvious.

Could not get E or F stars. Seeing was not great.

Viewed Mars with the 18mm. Could see the ice cap and some surface detail.

Gave Ostap a quick demo of SkyTools 3 Professional with emphasis on the imaging features. He returned to his POD to sort out hardware and software issues.

Started working through an observing list with 70 targets.

11:04 PM. Viewed Saturn in C14 with 18mm. Spotted 4 moons. No, wait. 5! Tethys and Dione were very close on west. There was a neat triangle with Titan, Rhea, and Iapetus.

11:35. The seeing improved dramatically. Soaked in Saturnian details. North region grey. Wide northern belt brown. Equator beige. A ring lighter than B. Cassini division visible. Thin C ring visible. Shadow of the planet on the rings. Could just barely see Enceladus.

Reviewed the Kendrick dew heater control panel. Looked OK. Wondered if it was putting out enough heat...

11:51. Viewed Garradd. Between TYC 03806-0969 1 and TYC 03806-1015 1. The bright star 18 UMa was nearby.

Millie put her 'scope on the comet after I gave her the coordinates.

I put the 27mm and 18mm in the TV 101 - hard to see in the small aperture.

Dietmar came 'round. Hot chocolate time! I put on more layers.

12:42 AM, 6 Apr 2012. Dietmar spotted frost on his car then jogged off to his dome. Temp: -0.6°C.

I looked at the comet again... Moved a bit to the s-w.

1:06 AM. Viewed Tegmen or ΞΆ1 (zeta) Cnc. In the 10mm, the D star was at the east edge of field. C was wide from AB. AB did not look round... A little late to look perhaps. All stars seem same colour. D is much fainter than C, 2 to 3 mags. AB is a half or full mag brighter than C.

Checked the corrector of the big 'scope. Oops. Frosted. Used the 120VAC hair dryer to get rid of it. Installed plastic dew shield. Stars brightened. Yeh.

1:10. Could split the tight pair for a fraction of a second. AB is oriented 90 degrees to C and D.

1:27. Viewed HD 59848 in Gem. Split A and B easily with the 18mm. A looked yellow. At times B looked blue or dark orange. Very different mags. I estimated 4. ST3P says it is only 3.

Spotted GSC 02457-2215 to the n-e, below. A bright star. Almost equal to B. But ST3 says it is a 12.4 mag star. Ah no.

1:36. Put in the 27mm. De-fogged the eyepiece.

Messier 96 (M96), the galaxy, was barely detectable.

1:48. Viewed Saturn again. 18mm. Couldn't see Enceladus. ST3P showed it closer to the rings now.

Dietmar and Millie went to bed.

1:57. Viewed 38 Lyn. Close pair with the 18mm. Intense blue-white primary. Deep orange secondary. Much fainter. A very faint field star in-line. Then another at a 90° angle. Lovely. Another one from the Sky and Telescope list.

No comments: