I arrived at BCA in broad daylight and had a chance to set up the GWS and actually see what i was doing. Some interested stragglers at the park were given HAA brochures and expressed interest in astronomizing once their kids get a little older, to which we commented that there are kids in the club now.
8 of our HAA members were eventually present last night for a great evening under the stars. We toured the heavens in Jim's Goto, Ed managed to calibrate and star-align his ED80 and Steve K set up his MAK. All got excellent results with their equipment. A red dot finder would be a good addition on some of the scopes. Jackie brought her excellent grab-n-go Dob and had it set up in a minute and a half, although it took a while to align the quickfinder on it. I think it's set for next time.
M68, my next sequential messier marathon object, set before i noticed it was still up. It was behind the trees to the south at about 11 PM. I can get it next time. (or the time after that, or maybe the time after that). I set up the GWS and the binocular tripod for views of Saturn, Jupiter, and M13. Banding on Jupiter was visible even through the trees. The Great Red Spot was not visible (at least to us) from our vantage point during the time we were there.
I borrowed some longer EPs in an effort to see the North America nebula in Cygnus but alas, it's too huge to see in the GWS in one gulp. I did manage to see the edges of it, though. We discussed some of the equipment purchases recently made, including a Coma Corrector which has some assembly required. The SQM was reporting 20.2 for zenith and directions away from Hamilton and 19.4 towards Hamilton. Jupiter through a LPR filter looks blue, but had nice banding on it.
The evening was punctuated by several flights of an excellent toy,
which spins like a flying saucer. The dark skies of Binbrook enhanced the effect of its flashing lights. Jackie was able to get a photo of it at one point but it was moving too fast to get a clear shot. At least 6 sporadic meteors were seen during the evening; Steve K racked up the most of them.
We decided to attempt some items from the David Levy list of sky gems, and duly looked a few of them up. We managed to cross correlate them with other sky charts in order to find the area of the sky they were in. The footprint nebula evaded me this time as it was of unknown size and brightness. The milky way star fields in Cygnus were excellent though.
We lingered into the wee hours and eventually went on a quest for a Tim Horton's that actually had food. It turns out some of the muffins are not on display but still available. We continue our search for an adequate wrap-up location featuring a full selection of food as well as coffee. Friday and Saturday both look good too.
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