Friday, May 13, 2022

AIR day 5 - item 2

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

Day 5 blog entry.

Fri 13 May ‘22: Happy Friday The 13th!

Beautiful day at Killarney. Sunny, warm, bird chirping, students chainsawing.

There seems to be more green in the trees today... I don't think that's my imagination!

9:16 AM. Headed to the Dog House to get my internet fix. Kathleen popped in with double-side copies of The Evening Sky Map (brilliant) and self-adhesive Velcro strips (all right).

Did a bit of digging into Astro Photography Tool. Last night, I could not seem to zoom in. One suggestion I read was to turn off the camera's face-detection. There's also the Magnifier tool in APT. So a few things to try...

I found my old Killarney background landscape files for the Stellarium astronomy program. Trevor shot the photos in 2014! I tried the custom landscape and it worked!

The weather prospects for this evening looked good. The Clear Sky Chart suggested the seeing conditions (steadiness of the air) would be better. The Environment Canada cloud data showed low or zero while the European model said I'd get clobbered at midnight. Perhaps a good night for double stars?

Considered some DSLR-on-a-tripod imaging . Initially I thought, oh, star trails. But that doesn't really work with a gibbous, nearly full, Moon. And then I spotted a reminder in my calendar that there would be a bright flyover of the International Space Station. I could image that with the fisheye lens!

My sister scolded me for not packing my binoculars. I know! How could I forget?!

Had a walk down memory lane. My last visit to Killarney was in 2015. I arrived on Thursday 20 August at around 9:30 PM and stayed with friends at site 67 in Bear Alley. On Friday we hiked to and climbed The Crack and I shot lots of photos. We canoed lakes George and Freeland on Saturday. It turned windy and I felt out of my depth, getting spun around many times. We wanted to take some astrophotographs on Saturday night but the transparency (clarity) of the air was poor (I think there was a lot of smoke from forest fires). We broke camp on Sunday. Overall a great trip. And my perfect record of not capsizing was maintained!

Watched a YouTube video by Julie Bolduc-Duval on Teaching Astronomy Outdoors. She is very inspiring.

Blue skies everywhere after dinner. Opened the Kchi dome and slewed to the Moon. From my observing list, I noted the supernova 2022hrs in galaxy NGC 4647 beside Messier 60. I had tried yesterday but the Moon was too close. Tonight I could JUST make out the big Messier galaxy (while panning). The star chart confirmed I was on target. Fascinating considering the host galaxy is about 63 million light-years away but this exploding star is outshining that galaxy's core. Into my eyeball!

Imaged the ISS pass. The first part… I ran into some trouble with the intervalometer. Dang. Loose connector. But then, the Rokinon lens fogged, in just a few minutes. I was surprised by that! The humidity was very high! Next time, I'll have a dew heater on the lens! Anyway, I got some of it.

Viewed a few double stars before throwing in the towel.

Saturday we have another astronomy event planned: Learning the Sky. I’ll talk about paper solutions like the TESM and planispheres (aka star finders), mobile device apps, and full computer applications. Then we’ll arc to Arcturus!

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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