Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

The sky from Gainesville, March 2

For the first time in more than a month, I took the telescope out tonight and at least tried to get some observing in.

It was an iffy sky, and it looked like it was going to cloud over, but the Clear Sky Chart seemed to promise a good view. Unfortunately, after finally getting everything set up there were no stars to see until Sirius began to shine through a thin layer of clouds. I aligned on Sirius and then on Capella when it appeared, used Alnitak (a belt star in Orion) and Pollux for calibration, and then got a good slew to M42. The nebula was not even visible; it was weird seeing the stars of M42 without the cloud of gas and dust.

I was souring on the whole night but decided to get some shots at some open clusters, so I used the hand controller to order the scope pointed at M35 in Gemini. Again, there wasn’t much to see. I decided to try something different, so I used the hand controller to have it give me a tour of Messier objects in Auriga. It pulled up M36, 37 and 38, but the views again were pretty bad due to the sky.

I broke down the telescope and hauled it all back upstairs, and noted to my dismay that everything cleared up by the time I was done. I may take it all back downstairs again tomorrow night.

One good thing to note: the new finderscope, a 6×30 Orion brand finder with a 90-degree eyepiece worked beautifully and I was able to use it without going through extreme body maneuvers. Trying to center an object near the zenith in a straight-through finder like the one I’ve had all these years was agonizing; tonight, on Capella, it made me ashamed, it was so easy.

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March 3, 2011 - Posted by | Observations with Vinny | , , , , , , ,

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