Sunday, May 27, 2018

nice night

First clear weather in a couple weeks, but it stays light so long I only got an hour and a half in, from 10pm to 11:30pm.  Still a varied and interesting night with Big Blue.

First, I had a peek at Venus before it set behind a tree; slightly gibbous phase with some shading.

While setting up and collimating, I saw a bright object in northern Bootes which shouldn't be there.  Looking at it more closely, I saw it move smoothly and slowly, and then rapidly fade out.  Must have been an Iridium flare!

I bengan doubles at 553x.  Seeing was quite good 7/10 and improving to 8/10 later.  There was a marine haze in the air:

STF 1483: Two near equal wide split, fairly faint, 9.5 mag.
10H 54M 30.84S +47° 29' 35.8" P.A. 243 SEP 2.2 MAG 9.52,9.61 SP G5 DIST. 52.85 PC (172.4 L.Y.)

STF 1467: Orange star with extremely faint wide split B.  Needed averted vision to notice it as a smudge but could see it with direct vision as a small blue point when seeing stills.  2 delta mag.
10H 45M 15.60S +44° 58' 11.2" P.A. 292 SEP 4 MAG 8.58,10.76 SP K0III DIST. 239.23 PC (780.37 L.Y.)

STF 1465: Near equal well split ~3".  9th-10th mag.
10H 43M 13.35S +44° 37' 41.6" P.A. 12 SEP 2.2 MAG 9.79,10.10 SP K2

STF 1525: Near equal faint, 9th-10th mag, 3".  Twin of STF 1465 but different PA
11H 19M 29.37S +47° 28' 12.6" P.A. 174 SEP 2.3 MAG 9.90,9.93 SP F5 DIST. 325.73 PC (1062.53 L.Y.)

STF 1541: Pretty yellow-white and slight blue, 1-1.5 delta mag, wide 4".
11H 27M 39.46S +46° 17' 33.4" P.A. 27 SEP 7.8 MAG 7.97,10.13 SP F8 DIST. 89.29 PC (291.26 L.Y.)

Ho 50: Tougher than it would seem.  A resoles to disk, no diffranction, but B is not present even with seeing, averted vision, etc.  Second time to try and fail.
11H 13M 40.09S +41° 05' 19.8" P.A. 35 SEP 3 MAG 6.47,8.36 SP K2III DIST. 114.03 PC (371.97 L.Y.)

Ho 378: !! Pretty cluster in the finder (~ 12 stars loose and poor, wide magnitude range, triangle shape).  Fine split 1 delta mag 1", ice blue A and slightly yellow B.
11H 04M 57.29S +38° 24' 38.2" P.A. 236 SEP 1 MAG 8.25,9.14 SP F7V DIST. 136.05 PC (443.8 L.Y.)

Hzg 8: Very wide separation 1.5" mag. [this is AC of 51 UMa; AB is Ho 377 which is 6.04,11.60 and 8.2", and which I need to go back to give another go!].
11H 04M 31.28S +38° 14' 28.9" P.A. 84 SEP 150.6 MAG 6.04,7.56 SP A3III-IV DIST. 78.86 PC (257.24 L.Y.)

During the above session while looking in the finder a triangular squadron of satellites zipped through the view -- at least I think they were satellites.  They were grey and small and a little large.  Maybe they were birds, but the configuration seemed far too regular to be birds...

Now that the moon had cleared the meridian tree I had a view using my binoviewers, using 32mm plossls -- first time to try them out as my low power view.  OMG WOW! the view was stunning.  The moon was near full but I quickly adjusted to the brightness and could merge focus.  The detail was beyond photographic.  Most impressive was, as I noticed last time, the shade gradients in the mare and even the hills, the rays criss-crossing the surface, and especially the abundance of small white recent impact craters.  Schroeder's Valley was in a low light angle and was just amazing.  Even though this is the lowest power, it only gives about 2/3rds of the moon.  Nevertheless it is totally worth the view.

I next tried Jupiter with the 10mm eyepieces in the binoviewers and had I think the best view I've ever had.  Used the apodizing mask for the best view.  There were huge purple festoons breaking like waves in the center.  The GRS was near the center of the band, and a thin brown band was swept underneath it then sprayed behind the spot.  Dark barges, white ovals, and even an Io shadow transit.  For sure binoviewers are a great way to view the moon and planets.

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