Sep 13, 2010

Clear Yet Frigid

Not a cloud in the sky both Friday and Saturday night. Not one. Fall has a strong hold over the high desert with chilly nights and mornings [in the 30's] and warm, pleasant afternoons [in the 70's]. The wild fluctuation of 40 degrees or more during the day marks life in the desert. Friday night was very cold. My toes froze into rocks. Saturday night was much warmer. I stayed later and did some viewing through the 24 with the other volunteers. Saw a comet and the blue snowball [a planetary nebula]. We looked at the bubble nebula, but I don't know how anyone ever saw that. We didn't see anything even with our imaginations. I imagined a dark nebula, but Eric said it wasn't a dark nebula, so I imagined wrong. Oh well.

With the sun setting earlier, the telescopes were set up and ready to go earlier. 

My telescope needs a name. Strange, as I name everything
else - my car, my computers, etc..

Not a cloud in sight.
There are two plane trails lit up by the sun a little right
of center. Just touching the tops of the trees on
the right hand side.
We watched the ISS go over head both nights.

Venus is now past crescent phase, waxing again.

A flirty crescent Moon also set very early. So low, I had to view it through trees.

Jupiter is rising early. About 8:30.

Click on the photos for a larger view.
All 4 of the galilean moons are visible.
2 below Jupiter & 2 above. Callisto above is fairly far out.

The Pliedes rise over the summit about 11:00ish.

A few of the stars in the Pleides constellation

Good crowds. We're still popular from last week's article in the local paper. Saturday night was our biggest crowd of the season. Don came up and helped out Saturday night, which I was grateful for. A nice, knowledgable guy. He taught me the owl cluster last summer. He made me realize I need new starcharts. Was able to get a shot of Albireo, an optical double star which is the head of the Cygnus constellation - you can see the different colors of the stars.

Click to enlarge. The yellow looks more white
but you can see the blue star to the right of it.

I can't believe there are only two weekends left in the season. How fabulous to have a warm, clear night on Saturday. The last hurrah of the season. Next weekend and the one after we'll have Moon in the way, washing out most objects and restricting what we can show and see. Only two weekends left. Wow. Sniff.