Thursday, May 12, 2022

AIR day 4 - item 1

The following is a blog post from the Astronomer-In-Residence (AIR) web site, reproduced here with permission.

Day 4 blog entry.

Thu 12 May ‘22: Follow up for Wednesday.

When I headed to "The Office" yesterday morning, coffee in hand, I noted some activity over at the Kchi POD. Saw Kathleen, said hello. She introduced me to Shawn, the assistant park superintendent.

10:37 AM. When I arrived the Dog House, text messages from Bruce rolled in, and surprise, surprise, I received an email from a certain professor emeritus from York! Paul Delaney sent his congrats. Nice touch.

I did a deep dive into the weather tools and was not pleased. Conditions had turned. It looked like it was going to be cloudy. That meant I needed to be ready to deliver a full presentation with images. I prepared a slide deck.

6:35 PM. After installing Zoom on the dome laptop, I did a quick live-stream test with Elaina. Looked good. Another box ticked.

Finished my presentation assembly, converted to PDF, and transferred it by sneaker-network to the dome computer.

Oh oh. Black flies! Nooo.

evening target list

Readied the dome. After the Meade mount was up and running, I slewed to the Moon. Off a few degrees so I tried to align. And kludged the mount! But Bruce, by speaker phone, walked us through the polar alignment process and all was well.

As the sky was covered with clouds, I delivered a virtual tour of the night sky.

We started with terrestrial phenomena (e.g. rainbows) then ventured out into the solar system. Then in our imaginary spaceship we explored the galactic neighbourhood taking in some double stars, open clusters, and exosolar systems with exoplanets. Moving further out, we took in the whole Milky Way galaxy and the gaggle of globular clusters (like bees around the hive). Now we travelled to galaxies, some near, like the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda spiral, out to distant island universes. The supernova in NGC 4647 was a big hit. We had a look at the energetic black hole inside Messier 87. Our final destination before returning home was to visit an extraordinary quasar. I pointed out that 3C 273 is one of the easiest quasars to spot in an amateur telescope. It was time to return to Earth sadly but it was a good trip.

It was around 11 PM and Kathleen and I closed up shop. Still cloudy.

It was a long day but we got lots done.

The Astronomer-In-Residence program is coordinated by the Allan I Carswell Observatory (AICO) at York University with the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory (KPPO).

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