Wednesday, April 02, 2014

skies were looking good (Blue Mountains)

Early dinner done, I readied for a good evening. Objectives were to location the mysterious fuzzy again, if possible, image Mars again as it nears opposition, and do some general observing to the wee hours, having sleep-shifted.

7:34 PM, Wed 2 Apr 2014. Went to the observatory. Set up the netbook (to drive the Paramount again). SkyTools was still running. Put it into red light mode. Fired up the Dell laptop, for browsing, chatting, emailing. Red lights on. Readied the roof. Opened it about a metre, to air out, cool, and let the bugs out.

As I walked out, noted the very nice sky. Beautiful. Cloud-free, just about everywhere. Thin Moon, up high, maybe 45 degrees up. Wind had died down, yeh! This might be it, the best evening...

My trick, during the day, shutting the lights off and leaving the door open, to encourage the cluster flies to vacate the Warm Room appeared to have worked; there were less. However, a hungry bird clearly enjoyed the offerings. Free lunch!

Realised I forgot some things. Red coat, which I suspected I would need later. In the pockets of the red coat were the charged Canon DSLR batteries. Made a note to bring out some paper towel and cleaner. The iTouch.

Put my extra rechargeable AAA batteries in front of the ceramic heater in an attempt to warm them. I might need them for the Sony recorder.

Checked the Panasonic cordless phone. Still not fully charged. Maybe it didn't like the cold. The phone had been left in the GBO... I also discovered that it uses AAA NiMH. Cool. Will be easy (easier and cheaper) to replace. Made a note to get replacements.

7:43 PM. Waited for sunset. Looked like, according to the ST3P Night Bar, that it would be setting very soon. Checked the Nightly Events Planner. It said 7:54. A few minutes to go. Twilight was to end at 9:32. Darkness would end at 5:18. Moon would rise at 9:16; set at 11:23. Waxing crescent. Added it to the observing list. Age: 3.0 days. -6 magnitude. 11% illuminated. Meant it would add light to the sky until about 11. In Aries.

Bloody Nightly Events Planner window was full screen. Wasting a ton of space. Gah. That's like the Interactive Atlas and other windows in SkyTools. Let me set it. What works for me. It's my decision. And remember my preference.

7:50. Grabbed weather data via my weather dashboard .

Clear Sky Chart had been updated. Looked like it would get quite dark after 6. Seeing would not be great, constant through sunrise. Transparency would be good until 11 then would drop off. Improves after 1 AM. Cloud conditions very good until Thursday afternoon.

Pulled up the Collingwood weather from Environment Canada. Current Conditions: 3°C. As of 7:00 PM EDT Wed 2 Apr 2014. Pressure: 102.2 kPa and rising. Temperature: 2.5°C. Dewpoint: -6.0°C. Humidity: 53%. Wind: W 14 km/h. 24 Hour Forecast. A few clouds. Overnight: -10°C. Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. 4°C. Detailed forecast. Issued: 3:30 PM EDT Wednesday 2 April 2014. Tonight, 2 Apr. A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light after midnight. Low minus 10. Thu 3 Apr. Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness in the afternoon. High plus 4.

Checked the locate conditions from the Davis Weather Station. Wind direction WNW. Outside temp -1.1. Dewpoint -5. 1022.1 hPa. Barometer graph looked like it was climbing. Good. Humidity 74%. Looked like the humidity was higher on the mountain. I'd best run the dew heaters.

Checked the radar, infrared black and white, from NOAA. Skies looked clear around Georgian Bay. A big system below Lake Erie... AccuWeather said 3°, partly sunny, partly cloudy overnight, very cold, -10 tonight, might feel like -11. The Weather Network said -1°, feels like -8, wind SW 14, humidity 59, 102.3 and rising. Overnight, -7, would feel like -12, POP 0%, wind 15, no gusts, humidity 73%.

Sun was down. No more shadows.

Closed down unnecessary apps on John Phil. Logged into Squirrel for email so to better control the colour. I chose Black Bean Burrito. Starting chatting with Nicole via Facebook. Looks like you can no longer pop-out the chat window.

8:04. Went to the observatory floor. Powered the mount, dew heater Pyramid supply, and Optec focuser. Opened the roof. Past 50%. It howled like before but I did not hear the motor strained. The observatory door snapped shut, scaring me.

Baseboard heater was working.

8:16. Returned from house. Retrieved items. Also took the opportunity to put on more layers. Saw Jupiter up high.

Initiated TheSky 6, connected, homed, and slewed. The go-to pointing was working fine. Jupiter was nearly centred in the low power eyepiece. Switched to real-time mode in SkyTools 3 Pro. Connected. Noticed the flashing X. Yeh. Zoomed into Jupiter in the ST3P.

Nicole asked about the galaxy LEDA 2271984, south of where I expected the moving fuzzy to be. If there was an alternate designation. ST3P did not give one. Could not find anything in Google. Gave her the location: 5 58 12 +45 53 26.

Heart coyotes yipping in the west.

Had forgotten how to go to a specific RA and Dec in TheSky 6. Discovered I did not have a tag for TheSky in the blog. Damn. Tried a search off the Search field. Crikey, it worked! Looked up my previous note from 3 Aug 2013, specifically at 12:47 AM. But it didn't work! Checked the Help. It said I had to use a decimal number. Oh... Would need a converter! I have a spreadsheet at home... Ugh. Guessed, 5.9,+45.9, and got in the 'hood. OK. Then panned about, comparing the view to the SkyTools Interactive Atlas. Moved inside the triad of stars with π (pi) Aurigae at one apex.

Ah ha. Found the galaxy in TheSky. Oh. Look at that. Software Bisque called it PGC 2271984. Told Nicole.

I guesstimated the location where I thought the moving fuzzy would be tonight. TheSky showed a faint star here:

Object name: UCAC 2.0 Star
Magnitude: 15.24
Equatorial: RA: 05h 59m 20.12s   Dec: +45°57'54.37"(current)
Equatorial 2000: RA: 05h 58m 16.30s   Dec: +45°57'52.77"
Horizon: Azim: 284°55'08.27"   Alt: +68°12'36.64"
Transit time: 18:36  Always above horizon.
Object type: Star
2 MASS ID: 1291572511
2 MASS mag H: 13.358
2 MASS mag K: 13.360
2 MASS mag J: 13.778
Hour angle: 02h 05m 19.42s
Air mass: 1.08

8:45. SkyTools of course called this J055816.3+455752.

Checked some Jupiter details in SkyTools. Wondered if there was a shadow on the planet; I had seen a dark blotchy thing with the 55mm ocular. Nope. A barge maybe? Europa (mag 5.7) east-most, then Io (mag 5.5), near the gas giant, opposite Ganymede (mag 5.1), and far out Callisto (mag 6.1). Bright field star HD 49381 at mag 6.8 beyond Callisto to the far west. Noticed, in the software, Amalthea was further away earlier in the evening. Now diving in. Hmph.

8:56. It was getting dark. Dropped light levels.

Lots of cluster flies, unfortunately.

Jupiter looked good. It seemed there was some sort of barge-thing in the middle.

Increased the update intervals in SkyTools, i.e. lengthened. Telescope display once every second, as low as it could go. Observing list refresh was every 2 minutes, I changed to 5. Interactive atlas was 2, changed to 5.

The south desk lamp wiring is still wobbly.

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