Monday, March 31, 2014

couple planets, couple doubles (Union)

12:42 AM. I had the netbook out in observatory. Wearing extra layers. It was getting warm in the studio. On my own. Donna and Steve had departed. Mom in bed. Probably OK. Needed some quiet time...

Set up. Aligned on Jupiter. Telrad was way off. Went to Mars. It was small with no obvious features. Connected power so to track.

12:45. Set up SkyTools 3 Pro. Made a new list. Added Jupiter and Mars. Confirmed it peaked at 2 AM.

12:48. Weird. I had an internet connection!

12:51. Ha. Pulled the weather. Current conditions: clear, -2°C. Observed at the London Int'l Airport as of 12:00 AM EDT Monday 31 March 2014. Conditions were clear, 102.1 kPa and rising. Temperature was -1.9°C, dewpoint was -3.8°C, humidity was 87%, wind was WNW at 13 km/h, creating a wind chill of -6. The 24 hour forecast said Mon 31 Mar, sunny, 10°C, Tue 1 Apr, chance of showers, 40%, 13°C. Going down to 1°C. Rest of the week: rainy. Detailed forecast issued at 3:30 PM EDT Sunday 30 March 2014. Tonight, 30 March, clear, low minus 4, Monday, 31 March, sunny, high 10.

12:57. Had another look at Mars. I thought I could make out light and dark features.

The neighbour to the south has a bright white blinking light. Very distracting. A car alarm?

12:59. Configured the Interactive Atlas and Context Viewer to show Mom's 'scope. Mars is tiny! Made a note to confirm the view orientation. Phobos was magnitude 11.9. Wow! Deimos 13.0. Those would be easy in a big 'scope, like the C14 at the CAO...

Tracking issue. I tried locking the mount with and without bolt. Did not seem to work. I didn't think the bolt should be on. I surmised the clutch must be not working. Time to change it? Switch to a different material maybe? Something that could stand up to the cold?

1:08. Confirmed the view orientation. Spotted HD 116881 and PPM 196511 to the ESE at mag 8.5 and 10.2 respectively. And the little faint triangle between... Viewed LU Virginis, TYC 04965-0591 1, and TYC 04965-1069 1 to the ENE at mags 8.0, 10.4, and 10.4. All beyond the edge of the field. Saw HD 116569 to the SW at mag 8.8, fairly close to the planet.

The eyepiece kept fogging.

1:17. Tried looking for the moons. Should have been above for me.

1:37. Viewed 35 Com. A wide pair, yellow and blue, very diff. mags, 4 or 5 different, perhaps? ST3P reports AC is 28.7", 4.9 vs 9.1. Good guess!

1:46. Noticed the Black Eye was in the 'hood. Popped over. So-so.

1:48. Checked my notes on 35 Com. I had viewed the AC pair before but had not split AB. Still no joy.

2:03. Found 17 Vir. An electric-S to the right (north), flattened triangle at bottom (west). Yellow and orange. About half the sep of 35 Com. The notes, in the RASC Observer's Handbook, say blue and orange. Wha?

2:09. Had another look. Blue and orange, eh? I dunno. White, maybe.

Viewed Saturn! Wow. Rings really canted. A couple of bright moons above and below. Maybe something to the right or east. Ha, in Libra!

2:16. Oh. I learned there was a field star to the south, HD 136700, opposite Titan. And about 2 or 3 times the distance.

2:30. The telescope and chair and mount were back inside and packed. Couldn't stay another night, sadly. I shutdown the computer.

Also enjoyed views of the constellations Corvus, Coma Berenices, Bo├Âtes, Lyra, and Cassiopeia tonight.

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