Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005... a cloudy memory

2005 was a disappointing year for monthly events.

Of the 23 telescope observing events during 2005... only 11 nights we saw stars!
Four of these eleven were outreach events set at schools

"Event Postponed" or "Event Cancelled" were repeated a dozen times.

Where is the blame? Global Warming? With 296 Million people in these United States its a wonder there isn't a thick layer of gaseous air continuely massed over us 24/7.

Clear Skies for 2006?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Meteors... seen through the eye piece

Have you ever been surprised by a flash of light, streaking across your field of view, while viewing an object through the telescope? The experts call these Telescopic meteors.

The IMO [International Meteor Organiztion] says: It is a often-quoted fallacy that observing meteors through telescopes and binoculars is a waste of time. Authors cite the narrow field of view as not conducive to viewing meteors. Not only can watching telescopic meteors be fun, but the technique has some advantages and complements visual observing. The telescopic observer sees meteors fainter than those recorded by the unaided eye, and can plot meteor paths more accurately. These in turn open up new areas of research. The knowledge that can accrue is explained in Science from Telescopic Meteors.

The IMO Telescopic Commission collates and analyses telescopic data obtained worldwide; its reports appear in WGN. The Commission offers plotting charts, information and advice for potential and active observers. I have had a few opportunities to see these lines of light. I happen to catch one while observing the Galaxy M101 in Ursa Major while on line with the Slooh Robotic Telescope the night of September 8 this year. I did not see the line until I took the shot.
Keep observing, the more time you spend under the canopy of stars, the more chance of seeing a Telescopic Meteor or other unique Celestial phenomenon.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Last Event of 2005

30 miles NE as the Raven flies is a darker site.

Star Log**051203

Tonight: Increasing clouds, with a low around 56. North northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high around 58. North northeast wind around 15 mph.

Arrived at 5:15 pm, Several workers(elves?) inside putting up Santa’s workshop . They requested I not set the alarm when we leave. Called and confirmed.

Cool with some clouds on the Horizon, glow from those areas were worsened by low clouds there.
Aligned LX-90 with Vega and Altair

Venus and crescent moon in WNW just above the building, nice sight just after sunset, more earthshine after dark, the moon set at 7:35

Started with a swing to Polaris
M1- below hill early, M81- too much glow, few wisp clouds DNS,
M31- Great, seeing more of spiral clouds, core bright, The core was bright and the disk was sharp and distinct,using a 24mm eyepiece. This Galaxy has been reported to be 3 times larger than first measured! [220,000 light years across ]I found myself going back to it several times and taking in the area, including the Satellite Galaxies. Always a fine Celestial target, even with Binoculars.
HST- flyby started at 6:37
Visitor: Mike H, asking Question has 3 kids, bring them to the meeting in January
M2- sharp/clear, Almach-dbl, NGC 457, M36, M37, M38, Albeirio, M81 again, dim in glow
M82 again, dim in glow, M15- nice, clear/crisp shot, M27-large and clean M57- ring not as sharp, NGC 253- saw no bright core, Gamma Del- nice sharp dbl, Eta Cas- nice sharp dbl
NGC 7009- not too sharp in glow, M42- still low in glow not as distinct
Mu Ceph- sharp and reddish orange tonight.

And Larry said: "For my part, the Double Cluster in Perseus stood out as the finest object of this night. The sky to our high northeast was clear and dark, and the 9th-magnitude “h and x” bundles of suns looked truly brilliant and filled our field-of-view to the brim. As did all of that Alpha Persei Cluster area. I was using my 26-mm Meade Series 4000 Super-Plössl eyepiece all evening, and it convinced me: If you had to choose just one eyepiece, but no zooms or Ultra-Wides included, what would be the very best all-around choice? This one, I’m confident, is it."

Around 9:30pm the clouds started a slow movement into our sky. Dew began to cover the equipment.

They asked me not to set alarm when I locked up at 9:45pm.