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Log, Nov 10, 2006

44 people. It must be November, because the Cub Scouts are back. Each year just after Halloween, some of the local Cub Scout packs have an astronomy night at Frosty Drew. The first of the packs arrived tonight and we are expecting another two packs next week. The Cubs and their families accounted for about half the people who showed up last night. The Cubs had arrived between 5 and 6. I know it is dark but we don't open in Fall or Winter until 6:30 PM. In Spring and Summer when the daylight hours exceed the hours of darkness, we open based on Sun set time - noted on the website's main page.

Most of our visitors were warmly dressed although a few visitors made the mistake of wearing light jackets which while warm enough in the day, were too thin for our cold night air. Old-timers like Ernie and I may look like we are overdressed but we stay warm throughout the night. I even had an extra sweatshirt in my car if I felt chilled.

Everyone wanted to see a planet - which meant we had a choice of Neptune and Uranus. Having seen Neptune last week as barely more than a blue point of light (about 2 arc seconds) I tried Uranus tonight which was almost 4 arc seconds. It showed a small disk and a color which was green or blue depending on your persuasion.

The M13 and M15 globular clusters were both excellent while the Moon was below the horizon. We looked at the Ring Nebula [M57] the Epsilon Lyrae Double Double, and Albireo. With a large number of kids about, it took quite a while to cycle them through. One visitor wanted to see M31. I tried but it was just too high behind the dome shutter and in a place where even if I opened the shutter, the eyepiece would have been inaccessible. Later in the evening as the Winter constellations began to rise in the East, we looked at M42/43, the Trapezium [5 stars] and we split Castor nicely.

A bit after 11 PM everyone left. Ernie and I noticed that the air had suddenly turned much colder and that condensation was were pronounced. Earlier after I had partially opened the Dome, and waited until the shutter shed the two inches of rain we had yesterday, I felt it was fine to finish opening the shutter. Suddenly a breeze came up and blew a pocket of water to a point where it started to come down on the scope. The scope was level, so nothing went into the optical tube but I cringed until the drops stopped.

We will be open next week weather permitting (November 17th) but we will be closed the following week (November 24th).

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Nov 10, 2006
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Leslie Coleman's Log
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