Friday, July 04, 2014

some showpieces for Tom (Blue Mountains)

10:13 PM, Thursday 3 July 2014. Viewed Saturn with the Celestron 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. Spotted three moons beside the ringed planet.

In the Oberwerk 100mm binoculars, I noted a bright star beside Moon. [ed: That was upsilon Leonis which the Moon had occulted earlier in the evening.]

10:17 PM. Conditions were looking good. I grabbed my α and ε astronomy cases from the car.

10:25. Gar. Another software crash. SkyTools 3 Professional imploded. I was, again, trying to run it with the external LCD monitor. I was not driving the C14 with ST3P. It was in red mode. I had been viewing Saturn in the Context Viewer. I was trying to simulate the view in the eyepiece at the correct angle. But as I dragged the rotation handle, the program crashed.

Back at the telescope, I spotted another point to the south-east. Just a single point. But the computer said that this was Enceladus and Tethys. Together! [ed: They were 4 seconds of arc apart.]

10:32. The seeing was fantastic at times. The equatorial belt was bright. The adjacent belt dark. The A ring was darker than the B. I noted the shadow of the planet on the rings.

10:33. What's going on! SkyTools crashed again. This time after I switched from Notepad. Very frustrating.

Same error as before. It occurred to me that the crashes might be to do with the external monitor... I thought I had done this before though, without any trouble. I was certain I had successfully used the external CRT mode on the netbook. Oh... What a sec. Maybe that was John Little John... And I was on the new drive now, the SSD.

10:41. Clouds. Crikey.

11:25. Showed Mizar. Answered a bunch of questions for Tom on multi-star systems. Then we headed off to Albireo. He enjoyed the colours.

11:28. I checked the weather conditions from the Davis weather station. 10 minute average wind speed was 3.2 km/h from the from north-west. The current wind was 4.8. The high had been 8.0. The humidity was 54%. The barometric pressure was 1013.9 mbar. The air temperature was 13.9°C.

11:34. Hey! We were clouded out again.

11:41. Risa and Tom saw a north-bound meteor. They said it was a big one. Dang.

11:58. We viewed the galaxies Messier 81 (M81) and Messier 82 (M82).

12:04 AM, Friday 4 July 2014. Viewed the Ring Nebula aka Messier 57 (M57). Tom liked it a lot.

12:15 AM. Saw a west-bound meteor. Fast and long and faint.

12:18. Took in the Coathanger asterism in the big binoculars.

12:32. View comet Catalina. C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina). In the Andromeda constellation. It was faint.

12:33. Risa said the counters were wet. Oh oh. Humidity must have climbed. I checked the Davis page again. Weird. Different numbers. 10 min avg 11.8 from N, current 11.3, high 37. Humidity 94! Pressure 1016.6. Temp 12.0. Wow. Very different numbers. Maybe I had been looking at old data. I didn't remember refreshing.

I wondered if I should try making an even darker background for the weather page... To better stay dark adapted.

12:37. The comet was moving fast! Already in a different spot in relation to the background stars.

I viewed the Andromeda galaxy in the big binos. Also view naked eye.

12:57. Risa and Tom headed off to the house. She said she was tired. Tom said he was fading. Night!

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