Saturday, June 04, 2016

lost the sky (Blue Mountains)

9:00 PM, Fri 3 Jun 2016. I had the Celestron NexStar 11 up and running on the observatory floor, connected to John Repeat Dance, running SkyTools. Red blinkies on the tripod legs.

9:23 PM. Checked the weather via the Davis weather station (having reset it earlier in the day). As of 9:01, the 10 minute average wind speed was 3.2 km/h, the wind was from the NE, the current speed was 1.6, the peak had been 27.4, the humidity was 77%, the barometric pressure was 1016.7 hPa, the outdoor air temperature was 15.4°C, with a dew point of 11.4. The local weather page showed that the predicted air low was going to be quite low, around 9. Below the dew point...

9:42. Thanked Risa for the coffee.

10:12. Viewed τ (tau) Leo. It was a neat system. A quadruple according to SkyTools 3 Pro. The A was yellow-white, the B was blue, much dimmer. B was to the south. There was a diamond of stars to the east. I saw GSC 00267-0050 inline with A and B tau, to the south. D, far afield to the east, was brighter than B. Slightly more than 90° from the AB angle. It was white, maybe blue white. Saw J112810.3+024938 between A and D.

Helped Bill with imaging the flyover of the International Space Station.

10:45. Saw GSC 00267-0043. Spotted it in an arc of three other stars. 43 was further south. Noted GSC 00267-0037. It was fainter. ST3P said it was magnitude 13.79 (but poor quality).

Could not see the C star... The Object Information panel said it was 14.4; the Context Viewer said 15.1. I wondered if the latter was correct.

Spotted another double to the west! That was 83 Leo! Two stars split, while tighter than tau AB. Bright stars.

11:14. Returned to an old target... Could barely see IC 983. Could barely see NGC 5490. I considered that these would be better to photograph!

11:29. I found The Blaze Star to be very dim. I guessed around mag 10.

11:42. Viewed Mars. Tried panning the planet out of the field but I could not see a moon.

Verified the software was correct. The Interactive Atlas with the current time. The cross-hair showing.

11:48. Viewed Saturn. Dione, Tethus, Rhea, Titan, Iapteus all to the west. Could not see Enceladus, Mimas, or Hyperion.

12:25 AM, Sat 4 Jun 2016. Finished the second run of the ISS...

Viewed NGC 4214 in the N11. Not uniform. An oval in Canes Venatici. Large in the Pentax 20mm. [ed: ST3P says it is an irregular. Photos show it to be very blotchy.]

12:28 AM. Viewed Saturn in the C14.

I noted faint stars near 4214. The galaxy proper seemed faint overall.

1:06. Helped Katrina get to φ (phi) Virginis (using its SAO designation: 139951).

Had some sort of glitch. Then increasing problems and weirdness. Rebooted everything after two "No Response 17" errors.

1:15. Very faint. Big in the 20mm. But a bit better view in the baader 36mm. Not satisfying.

[ed: Found NGC 4214 on my star party showpiece list. Removed it.]

I looked up. The whole sky was soft. OK, that's it, I thought.

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