Saturday, July 26, 2014

astronomy before allergies (Blue Mountains)

Did some observing before my allergies knocked me out.

Conditions were better than we had expected. Transparency poor, seeing good, as the CSC predicted.

Initially took in Saturn in good seeing conditions in the Celestron 14" SCT. Lots of details: C ring, Cassini Division, turbulence in the northern temperate zone, shadow on the rings, a hint of the south pole.

Then, near the Observing Pad with Risa and Ian, with Ian's big 20" Dobsonian, we looked at some double stars, faint galaxies, etc. I used his netbook and SkyTools to chase down some targets. We used my "star party showpieces" list.

Didn't take notes. I remember Ian suggesting the Fireworks galaxy aka NGC 6946. He showed me a photograph on his smartphone, one he had taken with his rig. Beautiful image. But I could barely make it out in the 'scope. Very low surface brightness. [ed: I didn't realise at the time but I have viewed this before, one year prior, with the NexStar 11, and it was a good view!]

I spotted a very bright, very fast westbound meteor at one point. A Perseid perhaps?


Photo by Risa Horowitz. She's at the ladder, Ian's to the left, and I'm light-writing in the background.

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