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Log, Apr 20, 2001

13 people plus a family of 5 who arrived after we had shut down. Well Barry has a theory which is very unsettling if correct. He thinks that I am the cause of cloudy and rainy viewing nights. He may be right. Notice that while I was away while we did have a rainout (undoubtedly because the weather systems were looking for me in Rhode Island still) we did have a successful night last week. While I was out west at altitudes between 5200' and 9400' for seventeen days NOT ONE night was clear (although many day were). I returned just in time for this Friday. The weather was clear until dusk but as soon as the night was dark the clouds were back. This is a pretty overwhelming evidence.

Our report will be as short as our observations. Jupiter and its four moons were quite good from earliest dusk until perhaps 8:15. Saturn was mediocre but we did look at it. We tried for Alcor/Mizar but by the time we rotated the dome the clouds swept in. We did manage to show some kids Capella though the scope while it was in a clear area and we identified Arcturus on the other side of the sky and then we had nothing. Lots of disappointed kids and lots of disappointed FDO folks.

I put on an impromtu discussion of Upheaval Dome, a meteor crater in Utah that I had been hiking and studying last week. The adjacent picture will give you an idea how spectacular it is. Some students (I think from URI) were quite interested in this exciting feature. To give you a sense of the scale of the Dome, the tiny dots are full grown trees, the thin wiggly loop at the bottom is a wide two lane road, and the dark line in the upper left is the largest of the Colorado River tributaries, the Green River. The crater is more than 1500' deep and to walk between the inner and outer rim is a hike of more than 8 miles. It was apparently created by an asteroid approximately 1/3 of a mile in diameter hitting the Earth at about 65 times the speed of a bullet.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Apr 20, 2001
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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