While my success with observing may not have always been the best, I was very lucky to spend a good portion of Sat night with two of the club's lovely and talented astro-dollies.
Seeing that the new Binbrook Conservation Area Clear Sky Chart was indicating some promising conditions, which I verified on the weather websites, I sought out some compatriots to join me at Binbrook for observing. While many were away for the long weekend or working, I was fortunate enough to get replies from Jackie and Ann.
I joined Jackie at the main gate about 8:20 as the clouds were just starting to clear as predicted. We headed over to the hill to set up and caught a very nice sunset with some interesting lavender colours.
A young couple enjoying the sunset.
Ann joined us by around 9 and we got busy setting up our gear. Ann had her new Orion EON 80ED and Jackie had her trusty
SkyWatcher Celestron ED80. Both are excellent scopes with nice sharp views.
I've been trying to get set up to collimate my Mak since I've noticed that the focus hasn't been as sharp as of late. If I succeeded with this, then I felt I'd have a better chance of nabbing Comet Boattini faint and low on the horizon. With the promise of clear skies, interspersed with the occasional cloud, I thought it would work out.
Alas the clouds were more prevalent than anticipated. Unfortunately the clear spots didn't last long enough to finish the collimation. So I'm not sure if my efforts improved things, or we just got lucky we very good and steady seeing between the clouds. We did get some sucker holes and had a nice time looking at the moon and a brief glance at Saturn and 4(5?) moons in the Mak.
Ann managed to get some nice shots of the moon and hopefully she'll post 1 of them.
Moon shot by Ann Tekatch
During one of the cloudy periods, waiting for them to pass (which they did move rather quickly considering the very light winds), we enjoyed watching some fireworks in the distance and hot chocolate.
Finally at around midnight, we decided to pack up, mostly due to frustration with the clouds. The seeing was quite good if one ignored the clouds (and we tried), the humidity was low and the temps were mild so otherwise it was a good observing night.
And sure enough as we were pulling away, the clouds finally seem to part completely and mocked us with clear skies for the 2 hours Jackie and I sat having coffee at a local coffee shop afterwards. But as I said, I had a very nice time with 2 great young ladies and that is always lucky in my books.
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