Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Astronomers at the mercy of the atmosphere

I have made some astronomical friends in my sojourn here in Gainesville, and if there’s one thing we like to do when we meet without our observing equipment, it’s talk about observing sessions past, present and future.

Last night, I met a friend at a meeting of the local humanist group, and we chatted about our latest adventures. I said, “I hope the weather holds, because I need to see some objects.” We laughed. I’ve been busy, and the friend admitted that the last time he was out for observing was the night of the total lunar eclipse, and that was back in December.

I still remember how cold I was that night, but it was a thrill to see the moon turn dark and the awesome beauty of the night sky.

What amateur astronomers do is akin to “hangar-flying” by people who hang out at the airport (something I’ve done, too). We talk and talk about it, and it’s all part of the experience. For example, this evening I’ll carry down all the equipment that makes up my telescope, assemble it and set it up, find my alignment stars and follow a list I made in Word off the Stellarium software.

Before, I made sure both of my batteries are charged fully and ready to run the mount. It’s all part of that preparation that’s so much fun (though my back aches after I carry stuff up and down the stairs).

But ultimately, I need a clear sky to accomplish anything. That’s what I’m waiting for today.

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February 24, 2011 - Posted by | Living in the modern age, Observations with Vinny | , ,

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