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Log, May 27, 2005

5 people. What if they gave a totally clear afternoon, beautiful blue skies and a lovely warm evening with no Moon until late? What astronomer wouldn't want this? Well this is what we had until about 7:45 this evening when I had just finished waking up the telescope and getting it centered on Saturn. Saturn wasn't very easy to see with the Sun still up but it was a tolerable image. I went out to my car to sit in a comfortable seat. Soon Ernie Evans showed up. We chatted when Ernie said "I think I saw some lightning flashes over by those clouds gathering in the west." By the time Joe Hartley arrived about a dozen minutes later, all of us knew we would have thunderstorms in the area.

"Means nothing" says I "it will pass to the northwest and we can continue." To which Joe replied "I'm going inside and shutting down the telescope and closing the dome." Well we beat a hasty retreat to the Nature Center to wait out the "brief shower". Well, not quite hasty enough. Joe and Les made it in but Ernie went over to his car first and got trapped there for at least a half hour as it poured. We chatted about various things until Ernie got a lull and ran in. Even in the short dash from the car he came in sopping wet. We sat for a while and decided that it was another washout. However, we couldn't go to the dome and shut things completely because neither Joe nor I want to test Faraday's claim that a metal cage is proof against lightning bolts. It wasn't until about 9:40 PM that the lightning passed far enough away to make it safe to finish closing. We all expected the sky to clear as soon as we left but it was foggy and rainy long after.

As an aside, my wife and I garden quite a bit and we have a rain gauge. In three quarters of an hour, this same storm which hit my home about 15 minutes earlier than it hit Ninigret dumped three quarters of an inch of rain. As the merry trio drove out of the park, puddles the size of Lake Geneva, covered the roads. Can you say "hydroplaning" boys and girls?

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
May 27, 2005
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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