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Log, Jan 4, 2008

14 people. What a weird night! The air was saturated with moisture and the sky switched from completely clouded over to clear as the temperature went down and then back up. This condition is called adiabatic clouding. Warm moist air was pushing in from the south west. This morning at 5 AM it was warmer than it was when I got home shortly before midnight. [I have a recording thermometer which keeps track of such niceties.]

I was in a talkative mood last night. When it got cloudy as it did twice I ran on at the mouth more than steering the scope. Still we did see quite a few objects - the Christmas Tree nebula (of course!), and the glorious Great Nebula in Orion. I made a half hearted attempt to sight the Pup (Sirius B). We looked at Mars. The polar cap was visible but we could not make out any details on the surface.

It was very cold the prior couple days to the session last night. The first sign of it was evidence that we had a power failure. The illuminated clock said 10:34 at 6:08. Since I didn't want to try to subtract 4 hours and 24 minutes from each glance at the clock I went down and changed the clock. This was when I discovered that the Atomic Clock repeater (in Colorado Springs) had literally frozen. The batteries had frozen solid and simply had ZERO voltage. I replaced the batteries but it didn't reset correctly because the signal from Colorado was bouncing off the Heaviside layer. This meant the clock couldn't reset. This morning was all happiness and light after the clock warmed up. The signal is once again being received. Was that all? Au contraire! The scope was creaky and moaned and groaned for the first ten minutes I ran it. No real problems but it protested being wakened from its hibernation.

I closed a little early because my body is still on European time. I went to England for Christmas and we took our first trip over to France thought the "Chunnel" to Normandy leading up to New Years. My body was telling me "Go home you idiot - its 4 in the morning." So about 11PM I wrapped up and went home before I fell asleep at the wheel.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Author:
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Jan 4, 2008
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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