Friday, June 20, 2014

brief observing (Claremont)

Peter was very curious where my observing chair had come from. Mr Getgood. He liked the design.

Viewed the International Space Station. Chris V reminded us. We watched naked eye as it went overhead. Peter followed it, er, pointed ahead of it and let it "fall" through the field, in his forked SCT. Good (albeit) quick view! Four main arrays visible flanking the main structure.

Put my bug gloves on. The mozzies harangued us for a while.

19 Jun 2014, 9:54 PM. Looked at Saturn. Saw a bright satellite move through the field.

10:04 PM. I could see Dione, Iapetus, Rhea. I thought I saw Tethys and Enceladus at times!

Committed to the telescope three-panel view in SkyTools tonight. Double checked all my settings. Dropped the humidity a little bit to show more stars. Good. Software matched what I was seeing.

Viewed 35 Com. Yellow and... blue at high power? In the 26mm it looked yellow and orange. Charline thought that too. Looked for a long time at the triple. Could not split the A and B stars. SkyTools reminded me they were 1.03" apart. Kept trying higher and higher powers. No joy.

10:45. Showed Charline the Black Eye galaxy I had stumbled across. Not an excellent view but still obvious.

10:49. We saw a very bright in the east and wondered what it was. Turned out to be an aircraft.

Lots of fireflies. So neat.

11:13. We viewed comet C/2012 K1 Pan-STARRS in Chris's 'scope, the Lightswitch. Hard to make out a lot of detail. Low. Getting lost in the trees.

11:19. I helped Ali. He had a lot of questions. Just starting out. Nice equipment, including a MallinCam Junior. But, I think, getting a little overwhelmed by it all.

He pointed out the MallinCam Jr does not have cooling. I told him about our MallinCam Hyper Color and how we used with with the long exposure setting, along with integration, to yield very nice images. It sounds like the exposure control he has offers more versatility than our old unit.

11:35. Helped Ali some more. He had told his big SCT to go to the Whirlpool Galaxy. And when he looked through the eyepiece, he wasn't sure he was seeing it. Or maybe wasn't sure what he was seeing. He wondered if it was just too faint to see. He considered attaching his video camera. But that would be a big deal. I said he didn't need the camera. Encouraged him to look again and soak in some photons. I thought the view was very nice. Hints of detail big spiral. Hints of stuff going on between the main and companion galaxies. Transparency wasn't great. But it was still a lovely view. And then I suggested two important tips for visual observing: steady your body; use averted vision. Let him try my adjustable height observing chair. Discussed the physiology of the human eye.

Zoran offered a view of the Great Hercules cluster. But, even on tip-toe atop the two-step ladder, I was not tall enough to reach the eyepiece. Ha! Later he offered a view of the Ring Nebula aka Messier 57 (M57). I was able to reach the ocular. Nice view.

Later I loaned Ali my Tele Vue 2x. He only had one eyepiece.

Peter started packing up. Dang. That was quick. Was glad, again, I had a small Dobsonian.

20 Jun 2014, 12:01 AM. One more target! I spotted NGC 4214 in Canes Venatici. A little faint smudge.

Mike left.

Took a quick look in Chris's SCT again, this time at the Blinking Planetary (Caldwell 15). Encouraged Ali to practise his averted vision.

Took a look at Messier 92 (M92) in Stu's computerised Dob. First low, then high power. Fantastic.

Checked the sky quality. Earlier readings with the SQM had been 20.0. Stu got 20.3.

But we saw clouds.

In short order Peter and I finished packing up and left Glen Major Forest. He took a wrong turn (onto Concession Rd 9) but we figured it out. I noted it was very flat as we travelled along Salem Rd. Peter wondered if it was remnants of Lake Iroquois.

1:43 AM. Pulled into my driveway.

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