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Log, Sep 9, 2005

42+ people. Tonight was a tease - it looked better to the eye than it was in reality. Early on we had a fair number of clouds, but they broke up quickly. However, the air was saturated with moisture. When it came to closing down, the door of the Observatory was literally dripping wet and Joe's tripod for his binoculars left a trail of drips from the Observatory to his car. Actually, as the night got colder the clouds came back forming in place (so called mackerel clouds). Then fog started to roll in and someone said "There is a fog bank coming in." but the reply was "Bank? fugedabotid! That is the whole darn Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation!" Well it wasn't really that bad but it made looking at things like M31 in Andromeda a complete disappointment.

We started with the Moon tonight. We had everyone looking at a crater [Aristoteles] for details. When the position of the Sun, the Moon and Earth are right (as they were last night), the shadows make the crater very sharply detailed. We could see the walls of the ring and the central "ejecta mass" composed of a mixture of the asteroid/meteor that caused Aristoteles mixed with Moon rock.

We also saw M3, M13 (quite good but not as good as two weeks ago), M20 [Trifid], M14 and Jupiter. Jupiter was already setting when we got to it and we followed it all the way into the trees. Its image kept drifting out of position. I thought at first it was a problem with the tracking of the telescope, but it was actually the Earth's atmosphere "lifting" the image higher than its theoretical position suggested it would be. This also happens with the Sun and the Moon. At dawn, we actually see the Sun before it is up. And at sunset, we see the Sun after it is below the horizon. The atmosphere acts like a lens and "lifts" the image.

We shut down earlier than usual. We also started to experiment with equipment to tie the telescope to the Nature Center with electronics. We ran into a software glitch last night when the software from the camera manufacturer and Window's XP got into an argument. And the loser - why us of course. We'll get it straightened out but it may take some dithering.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
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Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Sep 9, 2005
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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