Sunday, August 26, 2012

Missed viewing again

I rsigned up to receive clear sky alerts from   A nice service that emails me the Clear Sky Chart for my area when observing conditions are predicted to be average or above.   These charts pack alot of information into a single graphic and they are reasonably accurate.

I received such a message for tonight,  Sunday night (Aug 27), so I planned to setup my scope and view for a few hours.   Would have to quit by 2300 as I must work tomorrow, but a few hours is better than nothing.  Unfortunately hurricane Isaac has apparently decided to pay the New Orleans area a visit and my area was placed under a mandatory evacuation.  So instead of viewing the heavens, I spent the evening boarding up windows and packing to leave tomorrow morning.  I hate to wish bad weather on anyone, but it would suit me just fine if this storm would pester another area.  Ideally it would just die in the gulf, but that doesn't appear likely.  

Hopefully this storm will blow the clouds and mosquitos away for nice viewing this weekend.

Clear skies,


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Observing Report, Aug 1, 2012

August 1, 2012, I set up at 9 pm. First time I've had the scope out since the Venus Transit on June 5.
A very humid and warm night at 9:58 is 84 F and I'm sweating like crazy just standing here. Mosquitoes are thick. Humidity is 78%. Some high wispy clouds overhead, thicker to the North east. A full moon is about 40deg high in the east. Not a good night to view but the best I have had in 2 months.

Calibrated on Denub and Spica. The scope was close on both. Impressive as I still haven't collimated the PAS since I rebuilt the mount, so it must not be too far off.

M5 a faint globular in the 18 mm, per Skywalk a mag 7 but in astro planner a 5.7 ?? Pretty easily visible direct. With the B18 the shape is nearly circular with one bright star discernible on the southern periphery, just visible with averted vision

M39, nice open cluster in Cygnus. See 7 main stars a a few fainter ones in a pattern somewhat resembling a riding saddle, per AP is mag 4.59

M13 is hi in the West , maybe 75 deg. In the B18 in a large bright fuzzy object, roughly spherical
Brightness fairly uniform so not like a galaxy and too bright for a nebula

Hi Clouds moving in from the NE, that + the moon & humidity makes for a poor night. High Precision mode working well, alignment stars always in FOV & objects in FOV also.

M29 in Cygnus is a very nice cluster with 6 bright stars. 4 stars form a square and the other 2 stars are at the 4 & 8 o'clock positions off the bottom 2 stars in the square. Fairly symmetrical
See many fainter stars

M3 in Canes Venatici is a faint circular fuzzy of uniform brightness best seen with AV in B18, is about 25deg up in W. M94 too low in west, lost in sky glow.

11:06 clouds have hidden all but Cygnus and Lyra. Couldn't see M57. Called it quits at 11:30. Everything is wet, however my dew heaters kept the optics clear. Although the sweat on my eyebrow did fog up the eyepiece a few times.

Using Astroplanner on my iPad for the first time to pick viewing objects. It was good to select objects and show me what the object looks like, but it doesn't sort or arrange by constellation.  Of course even on its dimmest setting, the iPad screen is too bright and negatively impacts my night vision.  The night mode helps considerably.