Saturday, August 15, 2015

viewed fog (Blue Mountains)

After removing my camera from the C14, we slewed to Messier 13 (M13).

Skies were not good. Pea-soup, some said.

10:04 PM. While trying to show M13, it kept fading out. Clouds.

Chris V started packing up. I held open doors.

Ian W did a brief sky tour for the Khan family. M13 has about 300 000 stars.

10:11 PM. Then we headed to the Ring Nebula (Messier 57, M57).

I gave a quick demo of TheSky 6 to Sohel. We talked about star hopping. I shared the importance of knowing the field of view. We talked about tuning telescope alignment and that the Paramount didn't need it... Gave him my sketches.

Socked in.

Went back to Saturn. Or at least where it should be. Hoping it would punch through.

A good view of the fog...

Checked the local weather conditions. 99% humidity, no appreciable wind, 1.6 km/h, 10 minute average 2, out of the east, pressure was medium high. The radar did not look good. The Starfesters were in the thick of it. Fogfest? The next day looked good.

Parked the mount. Ian covered the 'scopes and eyepieces. In fact, he pulled the eyepieces and mirror diagonals off and returned them to the cabinet.

10:30. I showed Sohel all my weather tools including Intellicast.

Closed the roof. Ian fired up the dehumidifier.

Kelly, Chris M, Sohel and I chatted for a long time in the Warm Room, on various matters, light gathering capabilities of telescopes, focal length, magnification, targets from the city, hacking gear, open source, citizen science, constellations and proper motion. Lots of questions.

11:07. Bev popped in and asked why it was so bright in the Warm Room. I shared that it was due to the red but intense fluorescent bulb. Orange-red.

Chris M said it was clear! Saturn was too low unfortunately.

11:20. I sensed Chris wanted to do some more observing... I dug out the eyepieces and mirror diagonal... I wondered where Ian W was. In the house? In bed? Chris asked if we should drop the walls; I said no. He turned off the dehumidifier as I opened the roof. The Khans returned.

I homed the mount.

Slewed to the Ring Nebula. I explained it was an exploded star, sending out shells of material, with a small star left behind. Which would slowly fade out. From Charles Messier's catalog, number 57. Difficult to see colour.

Cloud busting... Headed to the Double Cluster. Loose groupings of stars, unlike globular clusters. Messier did not add these to his list. These are found in the New General Catalog. NGC 869 and 884. Shared that these would look good in binoculars.

I talked about telescope types.

11:40. The Khans headed to bed. Chris wondered about M104. Or the galaxy about Ursa Major. I filtered my showpieces list in SkyTools. That gave 34 objects out of 138. Tried NGC 663 (Caldwell 10). A small OC.

Headed to the Draco-Ursa Minor region. ν (nu) Draconis. Kelly said "two little white specks." Yep.

Slewed to Messier 101 (M101), above the handle of the Big Dipper. We could not see it...

I offered to do one more. Messier 13 (M13), Chris suggested. OK.

11:55. We agreed we were losing more and more of the sky. I shared that, despite having a good GOTO mount, I found this frustrating. Binoculars were best in these conditions.

Closed up. Again. Chris helped with the dehumidifier. Kelly thanked me for the lesson.

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