Log, Jul 7, 2001

26 people. Saturday was a lot like Friday in turns of weather, only more so - or perhaps less so depending on your point of view. Clouds bedeviled us all evening.

Les opened up at 7:00 only to find eight or nine people waiting for the evening. After convincing them that they were welcome but that very little would happen until the sky was dark (after 9), most still decided to stay! OK, lets see now, Mars was too low in the sky, Spica was hiding behind a heavy cloud bank so Les turned the scope on Vega, both to check the alignment from the previous evening (quite good) and give these early birds a view of something.

Les got into quite a passionate debate with one 3 inch telescope owner who had one of the dreadfully dangerous solar eyepiece filters. After showing the gentleman the results of what happens to solar eyepiece filters, Les finally convinced the viewer to (1) DESTROY the eyepiece filter and (2) replace it with an approved main objective filter. Hopefully our visitor will take this to heart. Whoever introduced solar eyepiece filters into inexpensive department store telescopes has endangered far too many people. These pieces of dangerous junk can cause you to be blinded faster than you can blink your eye.

Barry showed up with a replacement UPS that he had picked up from Joe on the way over. We did an orderly shutdown, switched to the UPS, and did an orderly bring up. At first Les thought that somehow he had lost the alignment but it was merely an indication of how rapidly the year is progressing. His target which he expected to be in the east or south east was now already due south. Well better the fast turning of the seasons than another annoying alignment.

Our targets for the night were Mars [of which we'll say more later], Vega, M4 (quite lovely), M8 ( a fine open cluster), M17 (which was better than last night), M19 a good globular cluster, M20 and M21, two deep space object almost touching each other and Albireo (a fine double star). Barry wanted to track down a mysterious double star in Vega, but it was two high. Moving the scope to that position would have caused the diagonal/eyepiece to bump the yoke. Thats a big No No.

Mars was (1) splendid (2) frustrating (3) detailed (4) invisible or (5) all of the above. If you didn't pick 5 you didn't stay long enough. What a pain. Ernie Evans had taken a Kellner eyepiece he owns an created a half dark blue, half clear filters. He wanted to use this occulsion bar to hide Mars while looking for Deimos and Phobos. After numerous mistarts when the filter decided to disassemble itself, Ernie finally managed to cement the filter in place. We'd love to say that it worked well, but frankly it didn't work any better than simply moving Mars to the edge of the eyepiece view.

We tried to view the martian moons. Les caught a momentary twinkle which might have been Deimos (roughly the right place). However, he could not find it again and no one else saw it. Les wears glasseswhich may have caused a spurious refraction. We had great views of areas on Mars for a few minutes here and there but slowly the clouds started to pound it into our heads that it was time to fold the show. We left shortly after midnight. Barry practiced bringing the scope down gracefully, doing a nice job of it.

This log report is a blending of notes from several members, with a lot from Doug. Thanks all for the material.

-Les Coleman, Doug Stewart, and Others

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jul 7, 2001
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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