Saturday, May 16, 2015

a big Mercury (Blue Mountains)

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the deck of the Carr Astronomical Observatory. A stunning reward for waiting out the fog and the rain.

I reminded people that Mercury should be visible. Thomas pointed out Venus and then Jupiter. With Sky Safari on the Android tablet I tried to find the inner most planet. 17° away from the Sun. No joy. I checked the magnitudes. Oh. Mercury was 2-ish.

I went to the Geoff Brown Observatory to fetch the Celestron 10x50 binos. Told Elaine and crew that it should be visible. Best apparition of 2015. Ian D poo-pooed it but I suggested it would be higher than the distant clouds. Back on the deck, I found the binoculars way out of collimation. Perhaps a contributing factor. I simply could not spot the planet.

When I returned to the GBO, they had it in the Celestron 14" SCT. A big crescent, still less than ¼ phase. Lovely. Colour-fringed through the thick air. Old dog Ian was remarking it was the best he had ever seen. It was a good view.

I stood behind the 'scopes in an effort to eyeball it. Still couldn't find it. Damn. Oh well.


I helped Marko find the video record control on this T5i.

Elaine didn't know the hand measurement trick. Phil helped her.

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