Observatory Reports

  • 01 Sep 2013 9:53 AM | Anonymous member
    Eagle Eye Observatory
    31 August 2013
    Jim Sheets
    95f > 83f
    7:30pm - 12:20am
    Total guests: 42
     
    When I arrived at the observatory, the temp was at 95f and humidity at about 82%. The Clear Sky Clock indicated transparency 2/5 (below average) and seeing at 3/5 (average).
    Indeed, the visuals through the scopes while targeting Venus during set-up were very fuzzy and nebulous. As the evening progressed, the conditions did not improve much.
     
    Shortly after my arrival, three club members came out and set-up their equipment:
    Tim Kenyon (10" Neut), Mike Ruiz (10" Dob), and Patrick Holland (Meade LX50 10"). These guys stay until the wee hours of the morning, as far as I know. It was nice to get acquainted with them.
     
    Guests started arriving around 8:00p and came/went in groups until the last ones left at 11:40p. I counted 42 in all. With the sky conditions being what they were, we were restricted to viewing the brightest objects, as the deep sky targets were nearly impossible.
    (Example: while viewing M51, only the two core's were barley discernible, without any detail). The guests were able to view Venus, Saturn, M13, M8, M20, double-double, Albireo and M31. I spent a great deal of time with a laser pointer touring the sky and repeated this on 3 occasions as the folks came and went. All in all, it was a good viewing night for the City folks who had never looked through an eye piece.
     
    After the guests all left I spent a little time talking to the club members and instructed them to be sure and lock the gate as they left.
  • 25 Aug 2013 2:30 PM | Anonymous member
    Saturday 24 August 2013
    COTE Star Party
    Jim Sheets
    8:00p - 11:30p
    Guests: 16
     
    I will start with a 2 for 1 report.
    On Wednesday 21 August 2013 the total count was 5 guests (one family).
    I did meet them at the gate and we proceeded to the observatory. The sky was completely overcast and remained that way all evening.
    My entire program was done on the big screen TV and describing the telescopes to these guests. We had about a 2 hour interchange. The sky remained overcast.
     
    Saturday 24 August 2013
    Upon arriving at the observatory at 8:00pm I noticed that the Ealing had been left plugged in and the front dust cover was still off. (left on top of the white cabinet). I searched the building for "critters", then proceeded to set up the scopes for viewing. In contrast to Wednesday night, the sky was pristine and clear and remained cloudless all evening.
    Guests began arriving soon after 8:00 pm and I had a total of 16 most of the evening. We viewed Saturn with both scopes until the sky darkened sufficiently for deep sky targeting.
    We then viewed M13, M51, M57, M81-82, alberio, double-double, M8, M20, M31-32-110 and the milkyway was vivid showing dark lanes contrasting with the star cloud. This turned out to be one of the better viewing evenings all summer.
    The last 2 guests departed at 11:30p, so I closed and left also.
    Thanks, Jim S.
  • 24 Aug 2013 10:06 AM | Anonymous member
    Fri August 23, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Darin Koch
    7:30p-11:50p 
    Guests: 15 

    Grounds excellent (freshly mowed), both scopes worked very well. No internet, all other systems working. 

    Early on a small 4 yr old girl got stung by a scorpion while standing in front of the donations box, complaining first that she was being bitten by a bug either on the wrist or her chest. I thought a horsefly may have got her, but after she started squirming greatly and crying and shuffling about I saw a scorpion fall to the floor and it crawled away, but it got stomped dead by the girl’s dad. They took her to the lodge to get any treatment available and they didn’t make it back. We have a first aid kit, but no bite ointment, but some burn ointment. The girl’s mother asked if I had any treatment on hand and I said, not for that I don’t think and told them to seek the lodge desk asap. 

    Skies were pretty good, but lots of star twinkling. Lots of mosquitos, so beware when you come out next time. Saturn was quite nice considering the atmospheric turbulence. Moons of Saturn were very easy. We viewed M57, M51, M13, M17, Albierio, and the Moon rose about 10:20p and I showed its rising through the trees to the last couple thru my binos and they were simply amazed. 

    I found a yellow jacket nest underneath the middle south table on the eastern field. Had only one hornet. I sprayed and killed it. I also installed a cane rod positive stop system on the Ruof Shed, so the 4 tie down straps are no longer needed. I drilled 2 5/8” holes, fore and aft so that the building is nicely anchored from rolling in the wind. I bought 2 units, but only one is necessary, so’ll I take that one back. 

    I also replaced the gate lock with a new lock, same combo. The old lock went defective and would not lock on any number. 

     Left at 11:50p, temp 79º
  • 18 Aug 2013 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    COE Star Party
    Saturday Aug 17, 2013
    Number of Guests: 22
    Operator: James Hall & Tara Heine


    Tara and I had stopped by the front desk and found out that COE was at about 40% capacity.  So expected a slightly slow night.

    We arrived at the observatory about 7:30 p.m.  The moon was about 80 percent full.  Clouds about 10%.  Temp 85 degrees with slight breeze.

    Some large ant hills near south doors, but no other major insect concerns other than some gnats that buzzed around us through most of the night.

    Some minor trash around south doors easily picked up.  Otherwise grounds looked good.  Roof and doors opened well.  We cleaned and swept out under the chairs and scopes.  Observatory lights and table lights turned on.  Display working.  Scopes working. Forgot to test internet.

    Both scopes tracked well all night.  Tara did a great job working the Harlan while I kept the guests engaged through normal green laser sky tours, AAS history, Public Star Party dates, explanation on how telescopes work, and fun things to see this year like the upcoming comet ISON.  I was also able to hook up the iPad wirelessly to the large display for showing guests several apps such as Exoplanet, Moon HD, Pocket Universe HD, and short videos on "Is Pluto a Planet?" , "Star Size Comparisons", and "Black Hole at the center of our Galaxy".

    The Forest scope was on the moon all night with 40 mm EP and moon filter.  

    Tara slewed the Harlan to Venus, and then Saturn and other objects for guests.  We also viewed Mizar/Alcor, and a couple of other bright stars.  

    Lots of questions from Children and adults and many "wows" heard when looking at Saturn and the moon.

    Donations in box.  

    Last guest left at 10 p.m.   Tara and I started hunting around a bit and were able to barely pull in the Ring Nebula, but I really enjoyed seeing Double Double as my favorite part of the night.    We packed up and secured the observatory at 11  p.m. 

    Temp 75 degrees.

     
    - James Hall
  • 17 Aug 2013 6:49 PM | Anonymous member
    Friday 16 August 2013
    COTE Star Party
    Jim Sheets
    8:30p - 12:00a
    Total Guests: 19
     
    The skies were clear this evening, transparency (medium), seeing (medium) upon arrival at 8:00 pm. I opened the observatory and began setting up the scopes. Guests began arriving right away so I targeted the Gibbous Moon with the Smith 12.5 inch, with a 40mm & polarizing filter. The guests enjoyed the view. 
    The Forrest 16 inch was targeted at Venus which gave a view of a fuzzy blob. It was useless during the first part of the evening.
    The guests came in three waves which gave an opportunity to reacquire the same targets. We were able to view Saturn, Albireo, M57, M13, and the Double-Double.  
    The Moon obscured all faint objects, it was even difficult to do a constellation tour and the Milky Way was absent.
    The late arrivals stayed until about 11:40p and then I closed, leaving at Midnight.
    Thanks, Jim Sheets
  • 16 Aug 2013 2:18 PM | Anonymous member
    Wednesday 14 August 2013
    COTE Star Party
    Jim Sheets
    8:30p - 10:30p 
    Guests: 9
     
    The evening started with a completely overcast sky. My Guests all arrived between 8:30 and 8:45.
    Venus showed its self occasionally through "sucker holes" (aviation term) in the clouds as well as the Moon and Saturn. We had fun catching glimpses of these objects. I then gave a presentation on the scale of the Universe with the TV using Xoplanet which prompted a few questions and more lively interaction with the guests.
     It was impossible to do a laser tour of the night sky... so, we did one using SkySafariPro on the TV. The sky continued to be mostly overcast except for a small clearing overhead and we got to target the M13 cluster, a visual for the folks.
    At home prior to this event, I located a spare 2" yellow dust plug that I had in my accessory case and donated it for the Ealing focuser.
    I was surprised to see the grounds and building in such great condition (no trash) following the public event on Saturday. Cudo's to the clean-up crew. Thanks!
    The guests all left together at 10:30 so I locked up and went home. Good night.
  • 11 Aug 2013 10:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sat. August 10, 2013
    COE monthly public star party
    Terry Phillips, Jim Sheets, Jim Lynch

    7:30-11:00pm
    Guests 185+

    There were a lot of clouds before sunset, so there was little or no solar viewing possible. But clouds didn't stop visitors from coming.  Ellen Deckinga did astronomy activities with 23 children before dark.  It was hot at first, and the bugs were terrible, but a pretty good wind off nearby storms came up for a while.
     
    Flashes of lightning were all around, and there were a few raindrops, but eventually the sky cleared, and viewing got better.
     
    There were 185 visitors shown on the sign-in sheet, and since there were some folks there before we got set up and put out the sheet, and I know there are always a few who sneak in, I'd say we easily had 200 people there.
     
    There were a few meteors, including one particularly long-lived one that caused a lot of oohing and ahhing.
     
    The observatory was closed up around our stated 11pm end time, but when I left almost an hour later, there were still quite a few members and visitors on the field.
     
    Joyce Lynch, Outreach Chair

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  • 10 Aug 2013 5:00 PM | Anonymous member
    Fri August 9, 2013
    CoE Star PartyDarin & Dana Koch
    8:10p-12:25a
    Guests: 20

    Grounds fair, scopes worked well.

    Skies were pretty good, considering the African Sahara sand dust particles in the atmosphere. But transparency was very good. Some cool pockets of air came from here and there and warm pockets later clearing it all out. 

    Dana's friend Susan Loomis was our guest. She had brought a small 4.5” 1000mm focal length F8.8 Meade DS2000 AutoStar reflector that was given to her which I tried to help her with. It had a severe collimation issue that I tried to collimate and no matter what I tried, I could not achieve pinpoint stars….everything looks like tiny comets. So outside that we had a small crowd and Saturn and was a great crowd pleaser. Everyone had a great time. We sae the thin waxing crescent moon, Venus at upper right of the Moon, Saturn, M13, 17, 51, Albierio double,, Veil, M57, M31. Saw some good meteors…not sure if they were Perseids or sporadics. 

    Temp 80 and calm winds.
  • 09 Aug 2013 3:47 PM | Anonymous member
     
    COTE Star Party
    Jim Sheets
    Wednesday 7 August 2013
    Time: 8:00p - 10:45p
    Total Guests: 14
    Upon arriving at the viewing field, I noticed that the grass & weeds were getting quite tall. (It has been mowed since then)
    The temp was 96 deg. and  the sky was hazy with high cirrus clouds present. I got the roof open and uncovered both scopes, pointed them at zenith to help dissipate heat. As soon as Venus was visible I zero'ed the Telrad's and chose 13mm and 17mm eyepieces for viewing Saturn with both scopes. I figured not much else would be worth looking at under these conditions.
    Six guests came down at 8:30 and I described the scopes for them, then showed some software on the bigscreen. The remaining guests arrived between 8:30 and 9:00. I did the usual laser light tour of the sky. By 9"30 conditions had improved so we toured several objects alternating scopes:
    Albireo, double-double, M57, M51, M13.
    The last guests departed at 10:35,
    Closed and was locking the gate at 10:45.
    Thanks, Jim Sheets
  • 03 Aug 2013 1:50 PM | Anonymous member
    Friday 02 August 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Jim Sheets
    8:00p - 12:00a
    Guests: 60 - 70
     
    I arrived at the observatory at 8:00 pm to open and set-up the equipment. I searched for the misplaced yellow 2" plug for the focuser, but could not find it. We can continue to use the 1-1/4" plug and adapter for now.
     
    The sky was more cooperative this evening being nearly cloudless, seeing and transparency were average with a light breeze, just enough to keep comfortable. My first guests arrived at 8:20 with a continuous gathering until around 11:00 pm. I did not get an exact count as arrivals and departures continued all evening. My best guess is about 60 to 70 total guests. Both scopes were in continuous use all evening while moving from target to target. I made time for a short tour of the universe (on screen) and gave a sky tour with a laser pointer during the end of civil twilight.
     
    This was an enthusiastic group with lots of questions and some preconceived notions that were false. Example: "Why do stars fall out of the sky?".
     
    The last 2 guests lingered until about 11:35 and I closed the facility at 12:00 am.
     
    Jim Sheets
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