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Log, Nov 23, 2001

18 people Mother Nature was up to her old tricks again this night, as the weather forecast called for "mostly clear" skies for the bulk of the evening. Well, most of southern New England was clear - in fact for Doug and Steve their long drives were clear until the last 5 miles or so. Then the clouds rolled in off the ocean, blocking out any chance for observing at the dome. An occasional hole would show up, but it quickly became obvious that it would be a short night.

Despite the clouds a number of optimists from the general public turned out, with high hopes of observing the moon and planets. Some had driven from as far as Old Saybrook in Connecticut. Joe, Steve and Doug conducted several tours of the dome and held a number of informal discussions with some budding amateurs who have recently purchased their own first scopes. Doug then suggested that time be taken to clean the eyepiece collection - which was done in the light and comfort of the Nature Center. While there Joe fired up his laptop computer to get the latest weather forecast - but there was no good news to be had. (Note: Wouldn't you know it - Doug later reported that when he arrived home in Massachusetts about 10:30 PM the skies were still just partly cloudy!)

While preparing to leave just before 9 PM, a brief clear spot allowed the staff to observe Comet Linear 2001 WM1 in binoculars. The comet has glided into Aries, and is brightening steadily. But in the fairly bright moonlight it didn't appear nearly as impressive as on the previous weekend. We will have to wait a couple of weeks for a moon-free view, by which time the comet should have reached naked-eye brightness.

Next Friday, November 30th, the full moon will be occulting Saturn from approx. 7:44 PM to 8:46 PM. This will be a fine event to watch in all telescopes, large and small, so we again will hope for some nice clear skies - at least for a few hours. If it is clear, we'll have as many scopes as possible set up on the grounds so that lots of folks can enjoy the show!

-Doug Stewart

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Thanks to Doug for creating the log entry while I was visiting family over Thanksgiving.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Nov 23, 2001
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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