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Log, May 9, 2003

Astronomical predictions stated that we would be able to view a transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun. Now I have see many astronomical events but transits of Mercury (not to mention the even more infrequent transits of Venus) have eluded me. While astronomical predictions may have been favorable, meteorological predictions had something a little less comforting in mind. Heavy dense fog covered the northeast coastline. Sigh..., inside and crank up the NASA/SOHO sight where the transit was guaranteed. Its a measure of my astronomical frenzy that my wife had to gently dissuade me from setting up the Questar on the kitchen table to view the transit on the PC.

Friday May 9, 2003 5 people. This was really a heart breaker. All afternoon we had clear skies and a forecast which was basically positive. I arrived and the air was still and clear horizon to horizon with a few thin bands of cirrus. Nothing that would interfere seriously with viewing. I opened up, pointed the telescope at the Moon and got a nice crisp image. However sundown was still more than 25 minutes away. To the west the Sun was bright if perhaps a bit reddish from the high humidity. No sooner had it reached the horizon, than with the drop in temperature, a strong sea breeze brought heavy dense fog in over the park. My visitors slowly left. Finally Art bowed out leaving me wondering if I should try to sit it out. When the fog got so thick that I had trouble seeing the Nature Center, I gave up.

As I suspected, the fog was hugging the coast line in a blanket no more than 150 feet deep. As I drove home, I passed over Potter's Hill (180 feet above sea level). The sky was clear from horizon to horizon except towards the ocean where the fog appeared as a rusty orange from the sodium vapor lamps along Route 1. By the time I pulled in my yard, the sky was totally clear.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 9, 2003
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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