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Log, Jun 4, 2004

3+7 people. Three stalwarts (Joe, Ernie and Les) arrived. Our principle task was to explain to the seven folks that showed up that there wasn't much hope of seeing anything. This sort of begs the question why we were there. In short because we are hopeless optimists who remember a night some two or three years ago where it actually cleared after the sky was 98% cloudy. Actually we had a spectacular sunset, with brilliant reds and oranges, and lovely gold colors near the horizon. We saw a brilliant speck and wondered for a short while if it was Venus until we saw it blink regularly. Probably comet Cessna or planet Boeing.

We actually unwrapped the telescope but not with any hopes of using it. We wanted to show three kids what it looked like. Joe opened the shutter a few notches but not with any hope of looking through it. We just wanted to drain the accumulated rainwater.

Sometimes after the Sun goes down, the sky clears for real. The cloud cover was extensive but not very thick. And sure enough it thinned. However not very much. Jupiter popped out, followed by Arcturus and Vega. Eventually we could see a couple more bright stars - Regulus and Spica and hints of other stars but nothing as dim as the second magnitude. Ernie had a list of potential targets so we hemmed and hawed for a while hoping a clearing would pass through. We chatted, swapped stories about various astronomical events and speculated about the likelihood that Tuesday's transit of Venus would be visible. Les suggested it was nearly certain that Tuesday morning would be totally clear and cloudless except a fog bank in the eastern sky where the Sun was located. We decided to paint a large cardboard disk with bright yellow paint and make a small black dot. This way we can at least simulate what we might have seen.

We gave up for good a bit after 10 PM.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jun 4, 2004
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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