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Log, Jan 25, 2002

53 people. We had a large number of folks show up tonight. The sky was free of clouds, but its transparency was not great. Winds and temperature differences made images dance and boil. We played host to Girl Scout Troop 684. By my best count there were 14 Girl scouts with Moms, Dads and Leaders. We also had lots of families visit as well. I have to believe that more than half of those 53 people were kids. In any case, I think we all had a great time with Les shouting and leading the kids in star identification and answering questions.

The unquestioned biggest source of poor seeing was the Moon. Nearly full, it sat squarely above the Dome illuminating everything below. The Moon was serenaded by our local coyote pack. Ghost stories may be fine around a camp fire but listening to a pack of coyotes yelping over their dinner was a bit too realistic for some. In any case, we didn't have many folks wandering off by themselves.

Well we trotted out the usual bright sky array. We saw Jupiter and its four Galilean Moons. Saturn was accompanied by 6 mmons including the relatively faint moon Mimas. We looked at our own Moon through a variety of differing powers up to several hundred diameters. On unstable nights like tonight, I really prefer lower powers, but there is a magic associated with high magnifications to occassional visitors.

Outside several people set up their own telescopes. Staff members wandered about suggesting targets on an all too bright evening. Some of the equipment was very nice. Most of the units were serious entry telescopes or a bit more. It is refreshing to see units which spend more time on quality than the inclusion of high magnifications.

We only selected one deep space object inside - the Great Nebula in Orion M42. It stands up reasoanbly well against light pollution. We split a number of stars with varying success. 32 Orionis barely split. Eta Orionis split cleanly. Zeta Orionis split cleanly but with a lot of difficulty. Rigil was split successfully. We tried Sirius but it will be a number of years before that star splits in tonight's mediocre conditions.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jan 25, 2002
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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