Friday, October 11, 2013

doubles before the shadows (Blue Mountains)

Did a bit of observing before the Jupiter event.

8:08 PM. Saturn was not an option for us. Viewed Venus naked eye.

Sal asked for a bubble level. Millie had a small one. He was going to do a panning time lapse...

8:12. Looked at γ (gamma) Corona Australis, a double star in the Excel file, suggested from SkyTools.

Asked Phil if I could borrow his laptop with SkyTools. Felt naked without mine. He brought it into Warm Room. He tried to find some Painter's Tape. We put some red film on his laptop screen.

Millie was trying to set up her Sky-Watcher AllView mount. Without success, it seemed. "I'm desperate. I just can't align..." Phil helped. He wondered if the mount had to be started from a particular position, a "home" position. He spoke frankly: the process she was following didn't make sense to him.

Bill visited the Warm Room. He liked how toasty it was. He was planning to snag a bunch of Messiers in the south. Was curious what I was doing with SkyTools. He also wanted to try out his new 20mm f/2. He was still settling into being at the CAO... enjoying being able to walk about and not having to worry. I, again, encouraged him to stay. "Lots of room!"

Coyotes started up. They were really close this time...

8:47. I covered the very bright LEDs of Phil's computer with "clean edge" painters tape then electrician's tape. Transferred my STX file. Back in business!

8:53. Went back to γ CrA. Down low. Still, got a good view, in the muck...

8:55. Reviewed the detailed info, now, with Phil's machine. Just a pair, gamma. Almost the same magnitude, different by 1 mag. A fast-mover, 122 years. Current separation 1.4. Tight. Maximum is 1.9". Software says it is not visible. I could not split it, sadly. In either the C14 or the TV101. For another day...

Tried to go to He 2-370. TheSky did not have it according to that designation. I also tried PK 002-5.1 and ESO 456-79. I had to find something in the area... Not too far from δ (delta) Sagittarii. Compared the planetarium views between the two applications.

9:06. I could not see the planetary nebula. Supposed to be magnitude 11.5. But only 10 arc-seconds. Small. Looking at it too late...

Tony d.S. visited. Saw the MallinCam sitting on the desk. He was looking forward to the Jupiter event. He wondered if the magnification would be OK. I thought it would work. But we had Powermates, if needed, my 2x, the Centre's 4x.

The palmtop alarm kept going off, for the next ISS flyby. Not a terribly good one. I tried to check the Heavens Above web site. It was pooched. I could not check the details of the 9:20 flyover. I had only noted that was to start in the SW.

9:21. Tony and I had a good chat about satellites. He had seen a couple in the telescope when he was polar aligning. I reminded him that there were 8000 up there. Shared my theory of satellite "highways."

9:29. With the 27mm in the C14, was able to split fast-mover HD 136176 aka Σ1932. Stars were equally bright, I thought. Mags 6.6 and 7.5. Even though down in the muck in the west. Nice. [ed: On my list to re-observe as I had not been able to split it before, with my C8.]

Bill returned my Canon USB cable he had borrowed earlier. Didn't need it. He showed me his Chameleon camera. Crazy, so tiny. $400. Twice the chip and yet half the price of the SKYnyx... He continued shooting Messiers.

Checked the field of view rectangle for the MallinCam in TheSky 6. It showed that Jupiter would be a decent size. I added telescope and camera info to Phil's SkyTools. And corroborated the view. I was happy. It suggested I would not need to use a doubler. Bill thought this would be a good plan, given how low it would be.

Bill looked at Triton.

He provided a beverage. Thanks, man!

9:57. Headed to the Cat's Eye Nebula. NGC 6543. Neat! 391x in the C14. Almond-shaped planetary.

Lots of north-bound meteors were spotted by others, including Bill. Millie had not seen any. She was curious what the current showers were. I checked my web site. South Taurids started yesterday. Orionids were to start next week. North Taurids the week after that. So there was nothing in the south. These were either sporadics. Or perhaps a new shower? Could the fireballs from the last couple of weeks suggest something new was emerging?

Millie sounded dejected at not getting her mount working.

10:11. I could see the central star in the Cat's Eye. Mag 11. Elaine took a look.

Elaine saw me using Evernote. We talked about tags and notebooks. She asked about task management. Ah. Something Evernote ain't good at. Suggested RTM. Remember The Milk!

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