Astro log: Dec. 9th, 2009

Equipment: Orion Skyview 6 Deluxe EQ, using the 32, 15, 6, and 4 mm eyepieces and the ultrablock & OIII filters.

New object observed: NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula)

Previous objects observed: M42, M81, M45


It was a brutally cold night, at about 12°F, but I was able to stay out for about an hour or so until my feet were too cold to go on. It turns out that at that temperature, extension cords (for hair dryers) are extremely stiff, and my stool that I sit on was frozen stiff. Couldn't turn it or make it go up and down.

At the beginning of my observing session, I was able to find M81, but not M82. I think, in the future, when I try to find them I'm going to need to make sure that I put my eyepatch on ahead of time to give myself a fighting chance of seeing them better. I would have gone back to it later, but didn't find the time before I was freezing too much.

The big find of the night, and an appropriate one given the weather conditions, was seeing the Eskimo Nebula. While the OIII filter didn't help with it at all (not sure because of conditions or what), the ultrablock did some. They weren't really very necessary, though; just looking at it with the naked eye, though, was enough, and I was even able to discern some detail from it, in that I could see the center being brighter than the dimmer outside. It didn't look like the pictures, of course, but I could see how it looks like that from what I saw. Not too bad.

The Pleiades and Orion Nebula were, as usual, stunning. Mars was not quite far enough over the house to look at last night; by the time it was high enough that I could see it standing up but still too low to get with the telescope, I was having to defog my eyepieces with the hair dryer (which worked nicely) and the oddly frozen extension cord, and I couldn't feel my toes anymore. At that point, I elected to go back in.

Comments imported from the old site.

Pretty respectable temperatures, there, ct. It seems like it's going to be a very up and down winter for temperatures, colder cold snaps and warmer warm-ups. Ugh ...

I haven't been out in a couple of weeks due to the weather, but we need the snow and it's been fun playing in it, so it's an acceptable trade off for the time being. I just hope the meteor shower isn't hampered by cloud coverage.

How's the dew prevention working out? I seem to recall that last winter, when the optics would fog on me, that if I cleared it once, it seemed to stay clear for the rest of the night, depending on humidity, of course.

I haven't picked up any thing new in a while except for a Universal Eyepiece Projection Camera mount for higher resolution planet picture taking. Cheap attachment at $15 and should work really well once the skies clear. Now I can use my DSLR for higher magnification planet imaging. Results to come ...

Keep up the good science,

Hair dryer's worked great.

Had to do it a few times the last time I went out, but it's pretty straightforward. At least I managed to get out a couple of times last week -- not looking promising for a while here.

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