Saturday, May 30, 2020

battled clouds (Blue Mountains)

Set up in the Geoff Brown Observatory, hoping, wishing... Found the UPS plugged in and powered on. Thank goodness there wasn't a lightning strike.

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10:06 PM, Friday 29 May 2020. Here we go.

It was cloudy so there wasn't a huge rush.

Oh. Computer woke up. Logged into GBO desktop machine—a little foggy on the password as it has been a while, a long while, the gap over the winter, and the COVID delays. Once the Software Bisque TheSkyX planetarium software was running, I connected to the Paramount ME. Homed.

Got my netbook going. Mouse going. The bag for John Repeat Dance was still inside the house so I didn't have my red film. Connected to the external monitor. Decided to keep list on netbook and the Interactive Atlas chart on the other monitor. The old SkyTools 3 doesn't know how to deal external screen sizes properly... Played with red film. A little small for the 4:3 flatscreen.

10:11 PM. Powered on Sony recorder. Power showed at 100%. I had spares ready.

Considered the lunar occultation. A couple of hours away. I could set the camera around midnight.

Slewed to keep OTA horizontal.

Let some air in to settle the big 'scope, the 16-inch glass. Still no working cooling fans...

Loaded up the weather dashboard. The European model was not looking good. Cloudy and getting worse. The Canadian model in the Clear Sky Chart showed clear to the morning—ah no. Local weather: wind calm; temp 11.8°C, barometric pressure falling.

Headed inside. Chatted with Rhonda.

10:47. Returned with water and red film for the ASUS. And jelly beans!

A big cloud was parked overhead. Grrr. Looked at the weather imagery from the Aviation site, infrared, water vapour. Seemed we were at the edge of a trough.

Turned off tracking.

Occultation would be at 1:30. Made a detailed sequence plan, all based on the occultation. Took data from the Nightly Events Planner. Updated the comet data in the software. Compared to aerith and cometchasing from skyhound. They looked doable.

C/2017 T2 - head area
C/2019 Y1 - belly, rear feet

Put the comet viewing on the plan after twilight.

Checked the sky again. Nothing. The clouds looked worse.

I wondered when the Railway was visible. I found a wikipedia note that said when the Moon's age was about 8 days. Moon was currently around 7.4 days old.

Oh yeah. I could try to image NGC 6520. That would be good. I could use with GSO 16 from the GBO with the wall panels dropped so to get low down to the horizon!

Checked the skies again. Frack! Done. Quit. Headed indoors. Opened the 1.5L bottle of wine...

12:10 AM, Saturday 30 May 2020. Moon was poking out a bit. A few stars visible...

Tried to view the Moon, started to increase the power, but it dimmed... Stoopid clouds. I was ready to go. But then it completed cloudy over.

Rhonda popped out. Nothing to see unfortunately. She helped me shut down. Time for another glass.

Missed the occulation...

1:39 AM. A few scattered clouds. Transparency looked good. Fired everything up again.

Slewed to SAO 80493. Oops. Too low.

Red star SS Vir. Got a quick peek before dimming. Cool colour. Viewed at 54x.

Clouds again. Clear around Bo├Âtes.

HR 7140. SAO 67566. SHJ 282. Nice. Obvious double with A and C. It's a quad. Tried for more companions.

Fully clouded out. Damn.

2:00. Headed in, for the final time.

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