Sunday, July 06, 2014

doubles, NGCs, and a comet (Blue Mountains)

Skies were looking good. I checked the weather. 10 min 17.7 km/h, WSW, current 11.3, high 35.4. Humidity 64. Baro 1016.1. Temp 17.9, wind chill 16.2.

11:51 PM, Saturday 5 July 2014. Ian and I chatted about late arrivals. A tricky wicket. Invariably people are going to arrive late, for various reasons. Given the layout, there's no easy way to prevent the people on the Observing Pad from being affected. I keep thinking about my shrubbery idea...

12:00 AM, Sunday 6 July 2014. Helped Risa with a bright star east of meridian, as she began her photography marathon. Nunki!

Viewed Arrakis again. Still trying to split it...

12:19 AM. I put on more layers. Brrr.

I still could not see μ (mu) Dra C even though I could see GSC 03890-0615 at magnitude 14.5 (although SkyTools said that was poor data).

12:24. Was the wind picking up? 10 min avg was now 19.3.

12:38. I looked for HR 7099 in Aquila but landed at HD 174792. A tough double with a faint primary and fainter secondary. ST3P said they were magnitudes 8.1 and 9.5. Only 2.3" apart. Huh.

12:42. Found HR 7099 aka Σ2404 (Struve). Pretty. To the north. Panned from 174792. Initally thought them same colour. Reconsidered. A was a warm yellow; B was a pale blue. I estimated about 1 mag different. Yellow and orange in the 55mm. Interesting. A good one for my candidates list, I thought. [ed: Not sure why but this was on my "view again" list. Not any more.]

12:44. The Moon was going down! Finally. Sayonara! Getting dark...

12:53. Viewed HD 174080. Also known as Σ2396. A very wide quad. A was yellow; B, C, and D a dim blue. The companions I thought were all equal in appearance. Cool. [ed: Maybe one for the candidate list?]

1:01. I was so sore. I wondered if should quit.

Viewed NGC 6934 (aka Caldwell 47). It was nice, a small round globular cluster in Delphinus. There was a neat line of stars below.

Headed to the house for a quick break. Wayne was getting discouraged. Telescope troubles.

1:29. I returned to the Warm Room with cookies and hot chocolate. Mmm.

Decided to try to image the comet. And I wanted to see if I could track at comet speed. I thought it should be easy with the mount software.

2:14. Finished imaging.

2:34. Viewed NGC 185, in Cassiopeia, a large elliptical. Smooth appearance in the C14 with the 55mm. Yet another Finest NGC. Also known as Caldwell 18.

OK. Now I was really tired. Packed up.

2:48. In bed.

Fun tonight. A few more double stars. A few more NGCs. And I imaged, briefly, a fast-moving comet!

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