Sunday, February 19, 2017

a short session (Blue Mountains)

Headed outside with Rhonda. From the west lawn, helped her find Cassiopeia and Ursa Minor and Polaris.

Then more observing in the GBO.

9:48 PM. I was able to install the dew shield this time... Not as windy.

I asked Rhonda what she might be interested in as she consulted the Messier poster.

We tried for the Owl Nebula. It was obvious, overall, but we did not come away satisfied. The photo on the poster was misleading—the long exposure drew out the faint triangle of stars. They were not visible to us. The dark circles did not jump out for me. It was faint in the 55mm ocular.

The sky to the east seemed very bright. Snow and ski hill lights? The Clear Sky Chart had predicted mediocre transparency and seeing.

Outside the observatory, Tony manually shot wide-field.

10:37 PM. We found Brianna's star, a gift from her squeeze, in Taurus. Roughly between gamma and lambda. My first impression was that it was part of a double, an equal pair. The documentation supported that. Her star was SAO 93765. SkyTools 3 Pro revealed it was a triple, actually: HD 25849. That made Bri's star the C component proper.

As thin clouds slid overhead, we chatted about planetary nebulae, the end of stars, some cosmology.

We looked at HR 2764, the Winter Albireo. Rhonda liked that. Beautiful colours.

We looked at Sirius.

I figured out why the dew heater strap would not reach the Tele Vue ocular: the OTA was further aft. Tony was surprised. I posited that after being remounted, it had not be placed in the original location.

Finished with "two in the view," Messiers 95 (M95) and 96 (M96).

Had hoped for a longer session with the Moon rising later but it was still cool, the skies were not great, and we were tired.

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