Log, Aug 15, 2003
88+ people. 88 people went into the dome and signed our log book but I know that others remained outside where several of us had set up telescopes. Hardly a surprise because we had a major hitch in our activities - the dome rotation motor jumped out of track which turns the dome. While I spent time outside trying to pass the time, Steve Brandt and Brad Brown tried to reengage the cog wheel which transmits power from the motor to the dome ring. While they were able to hold the motor in place briefly, it became all too obvious that it wasn't going to stay in place. Brad and Steve did must of the heavy lifting - or rather tugging with a short bit of help from me. Eventually the 2 and a fraction of us hand rotated the dome to the southeast where we knew Mars would be later in the evening.I finally got some time inside after 10:30 PM. Steve was holding down the fort inside (with a badly aligned telescope which could not be realigned due to the broken dome rotor). This allowed me some time to use a Questar outside. I had long lines which had chances to see Albirio (many oohs and ahhs over the beauty of the two contrasting stars), the Ring Nebula (M57) and ultimately Mars. Since I was able to move away from the trees I was able to see Mars quite a bit earlier than inside. In both telescopes we could see the south polar cap, and traces of Mare Erythreum and Mare Sirenum. What appeared as mere points in the Questar could be seen in some detail on the 16" especially when a deep red filter was used to increase the contrast.The viewing was good with hints of details in the Milky Way - at least until the Moon came up. The sky brightness rose several factors and with it a great amount of detail in the sky.