Sunday, April 6, 2014

Observing Sessions March 22nd & March 28th 2014

On Saturday, March 22nd, 2014, I had the opportunity to drive out to the West Desert and observe for the evening. My friend Jeff was there and later we were joined by my friend Craig and several of Jeff's co-workers and friends.  I took both the 14" and my 102mm (4") refractor with me and set both up.  The skies that night were steady, good transparency and excellent seeing. I spent the first part of the night looking at winter objects that I really have not had time to observe this year due to the weather.

That night my friend Craig borrowed my Orion XT10 and he brought it out after picking it up from my house. After Craig set it up I was amazed at how rough the azmuith motion was as I have become use to the buttery smooth motions of my 14".  Anyway, Craig used the scope that night and the old 10" gave some good views of objects.

I started with eye candy myself. This has been a horrible winter for observing again and I have only gotten out about once a month since November.  This night I visited the Orion Nebula, Messier 42 both in the 14" and in the 102mm refractor.  I have to say that after looking in the 102mm refractor at a dark site, I have committed to taking only the refractor out to do some deep sky, wide field observing one night. I loved how it framed M42, NGC 1981, NGC 1977 and brought it out so nicely.  In the 14" the Zambuto brought out a wonderful contrast of the nebulosity, with vary degrees of complexity and depth easily seen. The dark lane really stood out and E and F in the Trapezium were easily seen.  From there I popped over to Sirus and took a look at the Pup which is easily split right now. Then down to Messier 41, and continuing down to my favorite open cluster, NGC 2362 or the Mexican Jumping Bean.  From here I went up to Messier 82 and took a peak at the supernova there which was still visible and then I had fun seeing M81&82; M108, M97 the Owl Nebula.  At that point I was ready to get to work as Leo had now risen.

In Leo was going to focus on working on some of the Herschel 2500, and using Bratton's guide, I've decided to revisit them by constellation.  So Leo is up and I chose to work in Leo.

1. NGC 2872, 2874 & 2873 galaxies in Leo.  March 22,2014; 5 Mile Pass, Utah; 10:32pm MDT or 04:32 UT; 14" dob; 20mm Pentax & 10mm Pentax XW w/Paracorr Type I. Antoniadi II

These three galaxies are faint, with NGC 2873 being the faintest, it is the little faint fuzzy to the upper left of the other two.  NGC 2872 has bright inner core region, with diffusion around it. It is above NGC 2874 which is the largest of the 3 galaxies. NGC 2874 has a stellar core, bright inner core region and diffusion around that.  NGC 2873 was only seen with averted vision, and it seem t come and go.

2. NGC 2893 galaxy in Leo.  March 22, 2014; 10:03pm MDT or 04:03UT; near 5 Mile Pass UT; 14" Dob with Type I Paracorr; 7mm Pentax XW; Antoniadi II.

This galaxy is a mix between an elliptical shape and being kinda of roundish in its shape. No further structure seen though the core was brighter than I have it here.

3. NGC 3894 Spiral Galaxy in Leo; March 22nd, 2014; 10:55pm MDT or 0455 UT; near 5 Mile Pass, Utah; Antoniadi II; 14" dob with 7mm Pentax XW, Paracorr Type I.

I really enjoyed the star field on this galaxy. It was interesting to have the stars next to the galaxy.  The galaxy is elongated, diffused on the outer edges with brightening near the core.  Core is stellar in appearance.  Field stars are 1 to the west and 3 to the east. Fun object to sketch.

4.  I have been to this object before on March 28th, 2010 and it is at this LINK on my blog, about 3/4 of the way done. NGC 2903 & NGC 2905, Spiral Galaxy in the constellation of Leo; March 22nd, 2014; 11:15pm MDT or 0515 UT; near 5 Mile Pass Utah; Antoniadi II; 14" dob with 10mm & 7mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type I.

Galaxy has a very bright inner core with a hint of spiral arms on each end to the north and south.  The core region is bright with diffusion going out from there. There is a bright region to the south of the core which is NGC 2905 and ti has a mottled appearance to the galaxy.  Nice object, worthy of the visit or in this case, revisit.

5. NGC 2906 Spiral Galaxy in Leo; 11:25pm MDT or 0525 UT; near 5 Mile Pass, Utah; Antoniadi II; 14" dob with 7mm Pentax XW, Type I Paracorr;

This is a case where I like my actual sketch rather than my photo I took of it. I just didn't capture the detail I had made on the sketch in the photo.  This is a small but bright galaxy with a very bright inner core and a hint of structure on northwest side of the galaxy.  Fun object to tease detail out of.

 6. NGC 2964 is the center and largest spiral galaxy here. NGC 2968 is the next on up to the uper left of NGC 2964 and NGC 2970 is the faint fuzzy to the top left and all are spiral galaxies in Leo.  March 22nd, 2014; 11:40pm MDT or 0540 UT; near 5 Mile Pass, Utah; Antoniadi II; SQM 21.61; 14" dob with 7mm & 5mm Pentax XW, Paracorr Type I.

NGC 2964 is irregular in shape, has a bright inner core region and mottling is evident in the galaxy as captured in the sketch.  NGC 2968 is somewhat elongated and opaque in shape. Has a brightening toward the core but is very much diffused.  NGC 2970 is just a roundish smudge or  fuzziness. Averted vision helps to view it. This is a repeat of a capture of the two main galaxies on March 10th, 2010 in my 10 inch dob. That is at this link if you want to go and view it. A lot more detail with a more experience eye and the larger aperture.

On March 28th I got out but I really didn't do any personal observing. My friend Mat had his two friends come out and they were using binoculars and then Mat would show them what they were viewing in his 8 inch dob and I would show them the same object in the 14".  We actually saw a lot of objects that night from M81, M82, M51, M101, NGC 2362 which I need to sketch again.  Also M42, M41, M44, and Thor's Helmet, NGC 2359 among them all.  In both cases the zodiacal light was very bright and obvious.  A good night that was. This was a short session of about 3 hours due to weather coming in, but it was still a fun night!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sketching Light for Astronomy: Black Diamond Spot, Rigel Starlite or Photon Freedom II

As a sketcher, I am always in search of a better lighting source that will preserve my dark vision while allowing me to sketch. So of late I have gathered three items to help do so. I am going to present them here and discuss their pro's and con's.

First come an image of all three together. They are on the bottom: 1. The Rigel adjusting red light; also called the Starlite here.  2. To the top the BlackDiamond Spot Headlamp.  3. The Photo Freedom Light which is on the right.

1. We'll start with the Rigel Starlite as seen below (with a Lego Darth Vader Key Chain).

This light is about four inches long by about 1 1/2 inches wide. It has a wheel that turns on and off the two LEDS inside the clear plastic on the front. I question in the build if the wheel will endure but some people on some of the forums like CloudyNights swear by them. One guy reinforces his with duck tape.  I would use the red lanyard to make sure it isn't dropped or better yet, I'll probably make a wrist loop so it stays on my wrist for sketching. The light varies in intensity and here is an image in a darken hall during the day of the dimmest setting of this light. The hallway was darken, no flash went off but it sure seems bright there! Here is the Rigel Starlite a couple of inches from the door to the garage. It's dimmest setting is workable for sketching but not something to float around. I would keep my observing eye closed on this one.

Here is the Rigel Starlite in the dark with a clipboard and an actual sketch.  The first is at the brightest setting. This is way too bright for sketching and for keep dark adaptation.

Here is the Rigel Starlite at its dimmest setting. The light is spread out more evenly on the sketch and allows one to see the two galaxies that are close to each other here, along with the bright core. It didn't really allow for me to see the mottling on the galaxy with the bright core. Not bad, but you need something to hold it in position over your sketch.

2. Here is a headlamp made by BlackDiamond and it is called Spot. It puts out 130 lumen on the white light, and if your the last one cleaning up at the end of an observing session, it is bright, very, very bright.The build quality is good to very good, it is built more sturdy in my opinion than the green Energizer headlamps I have and it swivels into 3 positions; straight on, 45 degrees and near 90 degrees, more like 75 degree probably. Adjustable headband. The only thing I do NOT like about this is when you go to change the batterys' it is REALLY flimsly on the piece of plastic that connects the two parts. It would be easy to break. So I would watch the battery meter and change it at home before going into the field or you'll need white light to change the batteries.  Better to change these ones out at home.
Both the red and white light have a variable in how bright they are. Depending on the mode, you simply push down the button and the light dims down to its lowest levels.You can view a lot of the details to this product at this Black Diamond video at YouTube: LINK. Again, it doesn't show the red light dimming which it does. This is a workable headlamp for me.

Here is the dimmest setting for the red light. The light from the Spot at its lowest setting was low enough that the DSLR I was using would not register the light, so I had to move to the wall next to the door. It was very dim, so dim that at night I cannot leave it on my head at the lowest setting an illuminate the clipboards I use for sketching.

Here is the Black Diamond Spot in the dark on its highest setting. Again, this is too bright to maintain dark adaptation and to not bother others around you. It does show the 3 galaxies and the stars I had put in place though .

Here is the Black Diamond Spot at its lowest red setting. Still a little brighter than the Rigel, but it does light up the paper but the two rings from the two LED's do show up on the paper in the dark, even visually. This one would work if one had to use it.

3. Photon Freedom

The Photon Freedom is about the size of a fifty cent piece though in the shape in the middle of the picture above.It comes with a clip, a tie on clip, and I ordered a finger clip. You can see those above on the packaging. I also ordered mine in red as they do come in many colors. This one like the Rigel, is red only.
I also have a regular lanyard that it will clip on to if I want to use it that way.

The Photon has the following items to it. A pulse, that flashes red. A safety mode, actually 5 of them, 4.5 lumens,  about 18 to 20 hours of battery life; waterproof, and variable brightness. I love the size, the ease to use it, and the ease of use. It's build is okay, I'll see how it holds up over time. My only worry on he build is how enduring is the switch in it.  At the price though, I can't beat it, and I love the size, the light it puts out and the ease of changing the battery. It is the lightest of the three and as such, after a few moments, no matter where I am wearing it, I cannot tell it is on my finger, around my neck, or clipped to my sketching clipboard.  Here is a link to the WebSite and there are two videos you can watch in the lower right. In terms of brightness here it is at the end of the hall during the day.

Dim, and what I like is a nice even oval of light.  Here is another in the dark of the Photon at its highest setting. Again, it is way to bright but it does show the galaxy and the stars though with enough bright red light to make your night vision running away for around 30 to 60 minutes.

Here is the Photon at its dimmest setting. I love how it is an even light, spread out on the black paper and it feels comfortable to my eyes. Out of all three, I like this one the best as long as it holds up and I surely hope it will.

So the winner for me is the Photo Freedom II followed by the Rigel, then the Black Diamond Spot. Don't take me wrong, the Black Diamond Spot will be the headlamp I use for observing when I need one. The Rigel will work on some big projects but I simply love that I can clip the Photo Freedom II to my clipboard, use the magnets to attach it, or put it on my finger and give the perfect illumination to my sketching. Lastly I can hang it from my lanyard and it illuminates the paper quite well. Here it is on my finger. I'll do a follow up post to this in a few months when I get some good time observing to ensure these play out well with intensive use. I like all three, but so far prefer them in the order I have listed. We'll see if that holds up with time.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Getting Older, Habits, Changes . . . and Astronomy

I have been out twice in the last week so I will be posting some observing reports sometime in the next several days! Yeah!  I just wish the weather was going to cooperate over the next couple of days while I am off for spring break. Alas, it isn't.  Well maybe the refractor will be a go in the backyard. I was hoping for one more night of good observing on my list I am working.

One thing I have to say that I've noticed as I get older is the sins of our youth catch up with us as we get into middle age and beyond. I have reached a point in my life where I have to lose weight. Yep, I am a rather big guy, a combo of bad lifestyle choices and genetics. I will never be a slim Jim so to speak. However, I am going to have to get real serious and lose some weight to stop some major issues from developing. My heart is slightly enlarged, the beginning of heart disease and related to higher blood pressure. To correct means diet modification, exercise and a blood pressure pill. My goal is to lost a total of 100lbs in 20lb increments over the next 18 months.  I want the weight to stay off. How? I eat a healthy diet, since my celiac disease demands that, fruit for breakfast, fruit and veggies for lunch with some protein, a normal dinner (I have hadto change my portion sizes at dinner though) but I have not really given up soda, Powerade or Gatorade. The sugar drinks have to go my doctor say. I love cold water so that shouldn't be a problem.

Next, is my weight has caused my knees to begin to have minor arthritis in them. I can reverse this through exercise and losing weight so there is another reason to do so. I suffer from sleep apena and the hope is as I lose weight that will lessen to where I hopefully don't need to sleep with a mask.

So how do all these things deal with astronomy? Well, I figure my choices are to keep my habits, bad as they are and let my knees go bad and heart go bad and perhaps lose the one thing I really love about the hobby, going to the dark sites that are so close to where I live.  Second, modify my habits so  lose weight and continue to enjoy the aspects of the hobby I love, going to dark sites.  Last, sell everything off, accept that I refuse to change and leave it at that.  Well of the options the only one that makes sense to me, is the second one, to modify and change my habits so I am healthy and can enjoy the things I can do. Luckily for me, we have a new elliptical we bought for this purpose, since due to a long time knee injury and a very bad back injury, I cannot run or bike, the two exercises I did in my youth.

So I guess from this I have learned that keeping one's body physically up is very important in this hobby. If I want to enjoy what I love about this hobby, then I will make changes. So I am going public on the blog to express that I am going to do that, to post from time to time how my progress is going so I can be accountable to someone, and hopefully gain some support.  Here's to starting to make changes so my wife, my adult children, my future grand-children, and my love and enjoyment of this hobby can continue for a long time. Cheers and thanks for enduring this post.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Utah Star Party August, 2014

Well, I made a decision without consulting with anyone. I moved the Utah Star Party this year to Thursday, September 25th through September 28th .  I will not be able to be out at the site on Thursday, September 25th and will drive out the afternoon of Friday, September 26th and observe Friday evening, Saturday evening and perhaps Sunday evening.  Others may come out on Thursday and set up their camp and observe that night and everyone is welcome to leave when they want. The sole purpose of this experience is for amateurs to gather, enjoy each others company, observe and then share what they want to.  This last year we had a wonderful experience and hope to repeat that.

So why the move from October to September? First, I had thought of July but the new moon weekend falls on the weekend of July 24th, and July 24th is a large holiday here in Utah, and the sites will be full.  I opted not for October after last years experience of freezing at night.  August can be monsoon so we agreed to bypass August, and because in September you have longer nights, both summer and fall objects are up, and if your up late enough, winter objects, can we say hello to Orion?

Here are some photos of the area.  The car and the telescope have been replaced . . .

Looking South: 

A small tent under a Juniper Tree . . . 

Looking from the tent to the observing area. 

Looking north to northeast. 

Looking west (zoom on the camera). 

Looking south-southeast

Looking south to southeast

Looking east. 

Looking south

Well, that's the site.  No registration. I have updated the website to Utah Star Party 2014 and that is at this link.  For some information if your interested.

1. No toilets at the site. Your on your own kinda of. I will have a portable toilet with a bad under it and you are responsible for bagging, zipping and getting rid of any poop you put into a bag.  Here is a view of the portable toilet I have: Link. IF you want to use my toilet that is fine but you will need to bring a bag which is at this link to know what to bring. You have to dispose of the waste and don't bury it at the observing site.

2. Forest Service Toilets and trash are available at the Vernon Reservoir 4 miles to the east.  Quick drive and the toilets there are actually really good. I've used them.  They also have some great camping sites at the reservoir and you can set up your equipment on the field and we can watch it (I leave my equipment set up and covered) and then drive away when your done (have your car ready to pull out where the lights don't impact us) and go to your RV at the reservoir. We also had two RV's at the ite last year and that worked fine for us.

3. Bring your own water/drink and food.  What you bring in, you need to pack out.  I'll have some extra large black garbage bags but feel free to bring your own and haul them out when your done.

4.  We are not light freaks but some etiquette is expected.  Let the site know if your leaving early, park your car so the lights are pointing west toward an exit. Use a red light like me to sketch? Don't set up near me if you don't like that and I won't bring to your observing area if your observing and not using lights. Just live the golden rule please.

5.  Quiet on the field til 10:00 a.m. each day.  It's okay to talk etc, just be quiet and perhaps use a whisper level voice and be away from sleeping tents.

6. No tents on the observing field please.  Set up on the edges of the field.

So that's about it.  If you want to discuss this event, please go to this link over at astronomyinutah. I know I am a little more open there. I really hope to see a good turn out, to see old friends and make some new ones also!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Observing January 24th 2014

I had the opportunity to get out on the night of January 24th, 2014 (a Friday) to get in an observing session. I arrived out at the Five Mile Pass area, well just southwest of that area and found that the roads were for the most part dry and very passable.  Some of our observing areas were not.  The first one was filled with mud, snow, and some dry patches. More importantly there were about 2000 nails scattered in the mud and dirt so I got lucky with no flat tire occurring, and opted for another site. I found that the road just across from that site was totally drive and usable and since neither myself or my friend Mat expected traffic out that far, I set up out there. I ended up deploying at set up the dew heaters and I am glad I did.  They were needed as the night bore on.

Here is the 14" set up on the road, some snow/ice on the side but the road was dry.  The mirror is cooling as I prepare to finish setting up. 

Below is the fourteen with the hint of snow/ice on the edge of the road. 

As I call it, magic time. Set up and waiting or Astronomical Twilight to fall. It is so peaceful, so calm as I transform from the cares of everyday life to the just focusing on the universe and what I observe in it. 

Caught a little glare it looks like to the right and flash activated on the iPhone5s but still a pretty picture of the evening in the winter, in the desert. 

More time in the desert. Snow/ice mix still there by the sage brush and mountains in the distance. The flatness of this area makes it a good observing spot. 

Well after getting set up, I got my bib's on for cold weather observing then my parka, my balaclava and I was set to go for the evening (oh yeah, the gloves count good also). Night fell and Mat showed up. He brought his 8 inch scope since his 16 inch now belongs to Richard who bought it.  Anyway, first object that night was SN2014J in Messier 82, the Cigar Galaxy.  This is a supernova, Type I, which exploded about a week before this observing session.  I made 4 sketches that night before dew took over and the paper began to roll up and I had to put the sketching material away and simply just observe.

1. Messier 82 in Ursa Major with SN2014J (Supernova Type I).  This was caused not by a giant star that had reached the end of its life,which is called a Type II Supernova, and had started to produce iron at its core causing a massive explosion of the star and ending its life.  It was caused by a white dwarf star, white dwarfs are what occur when at the end of a stars life that has a mass of 5 times or less than the Sun, when they throw off their outer shell as a planetary nebula (I sketched two of those this time) and their core's volume condenses down to about the size of the earth, while the mass remains that of about half of the Sun's.  See this article if you wish to learn more about white dwarfs.

      Anyway, white dwarf stars are common in the universe and as such they usually are very hot, taking billions of years to cool off before they become black dwarf stars.  In the case of SN2014J, a white dwarf caused the supernova explosion. There are several ways this can happen. It is important to realize that most stars in the universe exist with a companion star in what we call a binary system. One star goes through its life cycle quicker than the other and thus becomes a white dwarf, while its companion is still progressing through its life cycle. If the white dwarf is close enough to its companion star, it will steal mass from its companion star as shown in the top picture below. When the white dwarf approaches 1.4 solar masses (mass of our Sun), the heat and pressure becomes such that the white dwarf in seconds, transforms its carbon and oxygen into heavier elements, causing an explosion that is very bright and that rips the white dwarf apart.

The second way is when both binary stars in a system have become white dwarfs, orbit each other and because of gravity they eventually merge into each other. As they do this, again, the temperature and pressure becomes enough to cause the white dwarfs to explode in a very bright supernova explosion.

One of these two scenerios is what caused the Type Ia Supernova, SN2014J (the J means this is the 10th supernova found in 2014 since J is the 10th letter) to explode.  Here is my observation.

Messier 82 with SN2014J; January 14th,  2014.  7:55pm MST or 02:55 UT.  Near 5 Mile Pass UT; SQM: 21.52; 14" Dob with Type I Paracorr (white lettering); 7mm Pentax XW, 27mm TeleVue Panoptic as finder;  Antoniadi III; Cool, 21 degrees F;

I used the 27mm Panoptic as my finder and once on Messier 82, SN2014J stuck out really stuck out at 61x magnification, much like Chief Emerald L. would say, BAM! The SN was approaching the brightness of the 10th magnitude star to the southwest of the SN.  It did in my book just fall behind the 10.6 star which is the second one to the southwest of the SN in brightness.  So in this observation I would probably estimate the SN as a mag. 10.8 to 11.0.  It was discernible to me it seemed that the dust clouds in Messier 82 was impacted the luminosity of this supernova.  SN2014J appeared to be cloudy, or almost like a nebula was around it at times that seemed to dim it. This easily could have been my eyes though.  Messier 82 was its typical shape, with the dark lane in the middle observable with averted vision.  That dark division has 2 or 3 bright clumps behind it to the eastern side.  Fun observation.

2. NGC 2392 Eskimos Nebula a Planetary Nebula in Gemni.  January 14th 2014; 08:37pm MST or 03:37 UT;  SQM 21.53; Near Five Mile Pass Utah; 14" Dob; Paracorr Type I; 7mm & 5mm Pentax XW; Antoniadi II; Clear, cool 19 degrees F; Ultrablock NB and OIII filters.

I spent some time with the Eskimo and I did make a quick sketch of it above. The Eskimo was showing its outer ring with fringes on it and bright patches.  The inner nebulosity was uneven but spread out.  The central star was easily seen.  Filters increased the contrast and details.  At first I did not see color here but the PN eventually gave a slight grayish teal color.

 3. IC 418 was the last object I sketches.  Planetary nebula in Lepus.  January 14th, 2014; Near 5 Mile Pass, Utah; 14" dob; 7mm & 5mm Pentax XW; Paracorr Type I; Antoniadi II; Ultrablock and OIII filters;

I made a boo bo on this sketch. I included a star above the central star on accident and didn't realize it until I had looked at the sketch to post it here. It wasn't seen, and it is there as I went to redo the sketch and that was going to be the original central star. Appears as a roundish or oval planetary nebula, with the central star visible. I did not see the rose color this night.

4. IC 443 SNR in Gemni. January 14th, 2014; 9:20pm MST or 04:20 UT; Near Five Mile Pass Utah; SQM 21.53; clear, cool, 17 degrees F; 14" dob, 27mm Panoptic, 30mm ES 82 degree; 35mm Panoptic; OIII filter and Ultrablock NB filter.

This is a very faint SNR in Gemni near Eta G. and I could detect this night slightly with no filter. The OIII brought it out the best and it  is brighter on the eastern side. I observed it as a   "   so to speak with two lines running down and a slight hook on the bottom (top in the sketch).  Three stars are evident and bright to me with three more evident near them.  I like this sketch much better than the one I did several years ago and feel this one is more accurate. I still have work to do on this one.

I also observed the follow objects visually this night: M44, M42, M43; M32 and NGC 2158; I got a glimpse of B33 or the Horsehead though it was very faint with the H-Alpha filter.  I also observed a couple of galaxies in Eridanus and then called it night.  Overall a fun and enjoyable evening observing and talking with my friend Mat.

Monday, January 20, 2014

An Update of Observing Sites

Well, I haven't had time to do much with Astronomy for the last month.  I am getting out on my back porch with my 4 inch refractor and am going to try to get some sketching time in as I think that may be the best I can do. Seems to be clear around full moon, and cloudy at new moon. We'll see how this works this weekend for the first of two new moon periods.

I did get out and take some pictures of what the current observing sites look like in the West Desert.  Here are these pictures.

All comments go to the picture above them: This is the Faust/Pony Express Road that was graveled over. Nice and clear. I drove 55mph on it easily in my Subaru Outback. 

Stopped on the Faust/Pony Express Road. No mud, nice and dry and able to go 55mph to 65mph. 

Another shot of the road and the mountains in the distance. Smog wasn't too bad out here on Friday afternoon. 

Just showing the clarity towards the North-West

Snow on the side, about 3 to 5 inches that is melting. Muddy off the main road. 

Open area to the south right off the Faust/Pony Express Road and yep, snow still not melted there. 

Smog towards the Sheeprocks. 

This is PR 3 or the road that you take up to Pit n Pole. Just at the top the road is covered with snow. Weird, someone had put a rope across the entryway looking like at one point they had roped off the entrance. Kinda of dangerous if an ATVer comes by. 

The road up heading toward the railroad crossing. Nice and dry. 

Same as above. 

Coming into Vernon

Vernon above. 

More of Vernon. 

Sheeprock Mountains in the distance; Vernon Ranch up front. 

Entrance to the Vernon Reservoir and FR006 Site 1 Owl's Roost. It was very snowy, very muddy. I didn't go down FR006 as I had the Outback not the Pathfinder. It was rather wet from the melting snow. 

May have to change the name to Eagle's Roost . . . . Yep a bald eagle on the fence. 

Sheeprock Mountains from one of the cattle guards. 

Sheeprock Mountains as I am leaving. 

Mount Timpanogos in the distance from 5 Mile Pass. 

Mount Timpanogas zoomed in from 5 Mile Pass. 

Not sure on location; either to Pit n Pole or 5 Mile Pass. 

Same as above; closer in. 

PR 3 leading to Pit n Pole location. 

PR 3 leading to Pit n Pole Site, Zoomed. 

Mount Timpanogos from PR 3 entrance, zoomed. 

Faust/Pony Express Road with Mt. Timp and very wet and muddy off road. 

Here is the road leading to the 5 Mile Pass Site. It was muddy, wet, and my AWD did kick in several times. 

Here is the road leading to the 5 Mile Pass Site. It was muddy, wet, and my AWD did kick in several times. 

Here is the road leading to the 5 Mile Pass Site. It was muddy, wet, and my AWD did kick in several times. 

5 Mile Pass Road to Observing site. 

5 Mile Pass road to observing site. 

Mount Timpanogos again. 

My take away from my little drive and it was necessary for a business transaction is that I wouldn't go off road out there right now unless you have AWD, high clearance and/or 4wd.   So that may mean I may look at going up by Solider Hollow to observe or Tribble Creek Reservoir.  We'll see. I will have to see what conditions are like and weather of course.  I wish the snow was gone in the desert!