Read Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center's Update on the Novel Coronavirus

Log, May 30, 2003

22 people. In the biggest surprise of the 21st century to date, we actually opened on a Friday night and stayed open a reasonable amount. We even had one seasoned veteran set up his lovely great 20 inch scope in our parking area. I manged to get a single great view of M13 (Hercules Cluster) through Hank's scope.

The sky was acceptably dark, and it was cloudless from middle twilight until 11:25 or so. I was outside and noticed a ridge of clouds in the northwest above Hank's scope. Within minutes, clouds condensed from the damp air all over the sky from horizon to horizon. It looked like one of the time lapse photographs of a pond freezing. A small cloud, a moment later tendrills lin king it to adjoining clouds and then all the gaps rapidly filled in.

Pack 49's Den 5 (older Cub Scouts) arrived en mass. It was still twilight when they arrived but Jupiter was in the eyepiece. Saturn was too low to be seen, lost in the haze and low level clouds to the west. The disk of Ganymede appeared relatively distinctly. Various people reported its color as faintly green, faintly yellow or gray white. They probably were all right since the coloring of Ganymede is not very intense in the eyepiece of a scope at sea level.

I had an embarrassing moment when I didn't recognize Arcturus when it first appeared. It was so long since I had last seen it the in my mind it still had to be north-east rather than almost overhead at twilight. I've been away from the sky too long this year. I heard Hank tell Art Guarino that he had never had so few opportunities to take his scope out as this Spring.

We looked at Praesepe (the Beehive) cluster, and several galaxies in the Virgo cluster including M87. We looked at Vega and the famous double-double Epsilon Lyrae.

I did a "quick and dirty" alignment part way through. I planned to do a better alignment later after the crowds were gone. I started to do it when I first noticed the clouds rolling in and forming in place. I was part way through when I had to give up. This insures the necessity of a proper alignment next time.

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 30, 2003
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
Subscribe to Leslie Coleman's Log RSS Feed