Great Winter Skies
Posted 10 January 2014 - 11:58 AM
We had unusually clear skies here in Boston, MA, after the Sunday rain that wiped out all our lovely snow (sob). And a good thing, too, because those were the last few days when Venus was readily visible before inferior conjunction. I viewed it both during the day and right after sunset three days running.
However, it was pretty chilly on Monday and Tuesday, with lows in the single digits and highs in the teens (F). That wouldn't be a problem in and of itself, but it was also quite windy, making it challenging to manipulate small objects such as eyepieces and pencils.
More to the point, Monday night, when the skies were glorious, was so windy that telescopic observing was out of the question; even my sturdiest scope would have been shaking all over the place.
Tuesday was somewhat less windy, but it clouded over around 9 p.m.
But last night everything came together. The temp was a balmy 25F and no wind at all -- some of my all-time favorite observing conditions. It's cold enough so that snow doesn't even think about melting and getting messy, but warm enough to stay toasty all night if you dress even halfway carefully. The transparency was pretty good, though undermined by the 65%-lit Moon, which didn't make for great deep-sky observing.
But the real surprise was the seeing. Winter seeing tends to be bad, but last night I had my best-yet view of Jupiter during this apparition -- and that through my measly little 70-mm refractor. It didn't hurt that the Great Red Spot was transiting the meridian, nor that the GRS is now darker than it's been for a decade.
Sadly, my backlog of work is too big for me to spend a really long time outside, but I spent a delightful two hours -- an easy investment when using a 70-mm refractor -- and came back indoors thoroughly refreshed.
Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:48 PM
Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:11 PM
I wish I had setup my M703, but I didn't have enough time to really get it cooled down plus I didn't want to deal with my CG-5 and power. I had to settle for the TV102 consolation prize. The GRS was perfectly placed and very obvious in the great seeing. It is definitely a darker shade than the band this year. In general, detail just kept popping out in the all the bands. A couple of great impromptu sessions in what is turning out to be a tough winter.
Posted 10 January 2014 - 02:45 PM
And it was POSITIVELY cloudy in all directions at 9p.m. ,then it snowed lightly overnight.
Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:09 PM
Minus 3.5 degrees in KY earlier this week but was able to sneak in a quick look though bino's under some very nice transparent and dark skies. Two nights later we also has about 25 and was able to spend several hours touring around with my 4" refractor again very good transparency and good seeing.
Christmas night was also exceptionally clear with good seeing and although the seeing wasn't great on New Years Eve, the transparency was very good.
So this being January 10th. I have had at least 4 sessions of 2-4 hours with my 4" plus a couple of quick peeks through bino's just this year!
Great winter skies with more to come!!!
Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:11 PM
Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:15 PM
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Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:25 PM
Kudos! Nice photos
Posted 10 January 2014 - 07:31 PM
All those were done from my home or at Jenny Jump (Hope, NJ). The moons were at 5*F and 12*F, Jupiter was as 2*F.
I dressed really warm. Here is me at Jenny Jump 2 winters ago, I did visual that night.
Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:38 AM
Nice to know there are times when a snowball does have a chance...
We had a great days last week, COLD as HECK but I was able to get a few images.
Posted 11 January 2014 - 12:19 PM
Posted 11 January 2014 - 01:32 PM
The first came early in the morning on Wednesday the 8th when I also got my first ever views of Mars and Saturn. Jupiter was about to be lost in the trees to the West, Mars was somewhere around 40º, and Saturn was just clearing the trees to the East. That was easily my most exciting viewing session so far and was completely unplanned. It wouldn't have happened if something hadn't woken me up around 4AM and the refractor wasn't so easy to carry out the door. It took longer to get dressed for 5ºF then to get the gear ready but so worth it!
Posted 11 January 2014 - 05:36 PM
Thanks for looking
Posted 12 January 2014 - 12:50 AM
I had the first clear night in weeks tonight and after family obligations I was able to sneak out for about 10 minutes with just my eyes and some old 10x50's I keep by the back door. I have to get up in 5 hours for work so that is all I really can afford to spend outside by myself. The few minutes I am spending here on CN are minutes I have to be up and inside for anyway.
That 10 minutes was great. M41, the Moon, M45, M42, etc...
Posted 12 January 2014 - 01:56 AM
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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:52 AM