Monday, July 04, 2016

the last night (Blue Mountains)

9:56 PM, Sunday 3 July 2016. Viewed Jupiter. Swimmy. Worst seeing conditions to date.

Checked the Davis weather station page. As of 9:31 PM: 10 min avg wind speed 1.6 km/h; from WWN; current speed 1.6; high today 27.4; humidity 65%; barometric pressure 1016.0 hPa; temperature 18.6°C; dew point 11.8.

Viewed Saturn. Not great.

Helped Risa with her reticule. Seemed very wobbly, despite new batteries. A poor connection from the battery compartment contacts? Perhaps a broken wire? Showed her my Celestron Microguide. Unfortunately the threads on my illuminator were different so we couldn't swap. Still, we held my red LED to the port and it revealed that the reticule proper was fine.

10:37 PM. Tended to my camera near the garage.

Viewed Alkalurops. Fantastic for the double star programme. Great at low power; awesome at high.

10:54. Ian W said he was imaging the quasar. Asked if I could post the photo. Sure. He was just trying to add his banner tag thing. Could not figure out how to get Photoshop to add the copyright symbol. I explained how to do it on a (Windows) laptop keyboard with embedded numeric keypad. Or use Character Map.

Viewed 41 Oph. No luck. It was not round. But no clear split.

11:09. Viewed HR 6594. No joy.

Risa popped by. Bev too.

11:21. View NGC 6595. It looked like a double star... What constitutes an open cluster, we wondered. Weird.

[ed: Did not notice at the time that it appears to be a hybrid object: small star cluster and a diffuse nebula.]

11:23. It seemed that the SkyTools observing list was updated too frequently. I could barely do anything and it would regenerate and take a lot of cycles. I changed it from 1 to 2 minutes.

11:34. Viewed NGC 4274. A canted galaxy. There was a wide pair to the left (east) and a tighter double above (south). The southern one was not shown in ST3P.

Headed to the observing pad with my note: μ Dra, Σ2130, 21 Dra, HD 154905.

12:22 AM, Monday 4 July 2016. Tried to spot mu Draconis C in Ian's big Dobsonian. Nope. Hawkeye Ian tried too!

[ed: Damn! It must be super-faint, in a dramatically different location, or just bad database information... Or difficult to see near the bright primary?]

Spotted a tiny meteor westbound while viewing Messier 13 naked eye.

Noted ω1 and ω2 again in Scorpius. And no Sargas.

12:39 AM. I noted comet C/2015 WZ nearby, in the software. We tried for it in Ian's 20-inch. It should have been beside σ Herculis. No joy.

Risa went to bed. Pooped.

1:13. Didn't feel like doing double star work. I decided to try imaging a galaxy group with NGC 6285, NGC 6286, MCG 10-24-79, MCG 10-24-82, from the Arp Galaxy List. Arp 293. Hooked up the camera.

galaxy group with NGC 6285, 6286, and MCG 10-24-82

Canon 40D, Celestron 14, f/11, 180 seconds, ISO 1600, WB daylight, Backyard EOS, Canon DPP. Single frame stretched without darks applied.

NGC 6285 is near centre. 6286 is left. Near the top-right is MCG 10-24-82. All 0.2 Gyr light time. Not bad for a DSLR, eh? MCG 10-24-79 is in the pentagram of stars near the bottom-left but I can't see it.

2:12. Turned camera counterclockwise a bit to improve the framing.

2:17. From the Davis as of 2:01. 10 min avg wind 6.4; SSW; immediate 6.4; high 11.3; hum 69; baro 1016.3; temp 16.4; dew 10.7.

2:32. I programmed 10 lights of 180 seconds each.

2:58. Funny. I was awake now...

3:04. Captured the last sub. Readied to program and shoot darks.

3:06. A bird just started chirping. Sun would be coming up soon...

3:11. Started the darks.

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