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Log, Dec 1, 2000

27 people. One of our visitors has set a distance record we believe. Sydney Australia will suffice until we get someone from Perth, or Amsterdam or the Kergulen Islands. The weather report predicted a clear cold night. It certainly started off that way but by 11 or so the clouds has overwhelmed the clear sky.

Io made an excellent transit of Jupiter. We could see the slightly brighter surface of Io against the yellow white background of Jupiter. Just below the white spot was a highly contrasted shadow of Io. Across the disk of Jupiter we could see a very good Great Red Spot. It seems darker than it has been recently.

Outside, Harrison Hartley (Joe's son) and Andy Martasian (Barry's son) had their dobsonians trained on a variety of objects. There was much running back and forth comparing their views with the views in the 16 incher. More than once I heard an excited voice proclaiming what an awesome crater he had seen or what a sharp view of Jupiter, Saturn or the Great Nebula in Orion [M42]. It is great to see kids taking up this hobby. Of course it doesn't hurt to have a dad who is fascinated by the same things.

We were displaying M42 nebulosity. Several people took the effort to start training themselves to see faint nebular traces. A good deal of eyepiece time was devoted to the faint nebulosity around Merope in the Pleiades. We switched to M37, the Eskimo (NGC2392). the cluster/galaxy pair M35/NGC2158, the Crab [M1] and the M78 and M79.

About this time targets became fewer and harder to find. It wasn't helped by some shoddy 9 volt batteries which wore out in a couple of hours in one of our hand paddles. [Normally, the last many full sessions.]

We looked at the close multiple star Nu Orionis [52 Ori] a 3.8 and a 4.8 pair separated by 1.7 arc seconds. We were able to resolve them. By the time I looked at Rigil, there was no hope of splitting it. This was about the last star visible in the gathering murk. It wobbled and finally became a meaningless blob.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Dec 1, 2000
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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