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Log, May 25, 2001

27 people. We have been having an absolute downpour for several days so I frankly doubted we'd open at all, but surprize, sursprize the evening started out remarkably clear. Barry had already arrived by the time I made it to the gate. He had his 8" Dobs ready to go in almost no time. I opened up inside and we soon had visitors. I tried to get a last view this season of Jupiter but the telescope sternly warned me that it was too close to the Sun.

The Moon had a 9-11% crescent throughout the evening. Barry had a beautiful crater which I think was Funeris with Stevinus just a bit farther off. Inside the Dome I had people looking not only at the Moon but at the individual features. The ejecta mound where the material was pushed up where the stike occurred was easy to spot in several craters. At least one gentleman thought that the unlighted part of the Moon was caused by the Earth's shadow. Using a globe of the Moon and a light we showed how the phases occurred. Sometimes we forget that even the most basic of astronomical knowledge is no longer taught in school. Or worse yet, taught by people who are completely confused about the subject.

Although Mercury was close to the horizon, it showed a fairly good crescent. There were periods when it was very clear and without any color aberation, but other times the turbulence over Westerly would break the image up. Once again we were able to reinforce the idea of phases using Mercury as an example. The air was very still and stable higher in the sky. Caster split beautifully with two clear bright points of light and a nice sharp dark area between. We then made the fatal mistake - we started to hope that we'd really get some good viewing in when Mars rose. The weather fates were just teasing us. Clouds began to roll in here and there. M104 was initially quite sharp but as high thin clouds came in, the Sombrero's dark lanes became hard to see. At a visitors request we went over to the asterism called the Stargate. I am frankly confused why it is so popular. It is nice, but so are lots of other things.

Joe took over the controls about now and the final three objects were saw before the clouds took over totally were M13 - the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, the Ring Nebula M57 in Lyra and the multiple star εLyrae. By now, only staff were left. We talked about the rocket over some cold soda, wrapped up the Nature Center and the Dome and went home earlier than we had hoped.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 25, 2001
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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