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9/09/2010

Update

Well, I got out last weekend to Wolf Creek Pass on Friday night and the views were just incredible. The detail in Jupiter was amazing. Just terrific seeing. Working on posting a video and my sketches and observations from that night. I've been really sick though since Sunday so I'm not progressing on that, though I am starting to feel better so I'll be getting out on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday was at Lakeside in the West Desert. It was also a really good night with one exception. Around 11:00p.m. to 11:30p.m. a truck that had been making its way down from the mountains to the west approached us and the familiar sound of a gunshot going off, loud, and close. So several of us went to white light and illuminated the truck up to let them know we were there. They then advanced and then stopped. The stayed stopped for about 1o minutes and then they went dark. While dark, could see a red light go off from time to time. After about 10 more minutes they turned on their lights and went down the dirt road that leads to the main road. At the main road one of our party who had forgot a part and had returned home and came back stopped and talked to them. He asked who they were, thinking they were observers but got a curt reply, "Who are you?" He told them and what the group was doing. "Oh, that's what they are doing." The member of our party described them as back country people, a man and a woman. The rest of the night went without a hitch.

My night at Lakeside began pretty normal. I got out there later than I wanted because I took a nap and slept longer than I thought I would. Figured out the next day when on Sunday I got real sick. After setting up, I went to collimate and noticed that the mirror was way out of position. I went back and found that one of the locking bolts hadn't locked and that that mirror knob had unscrewed all the way off. I had visions of the knob up at Wolf Creek Pass, a good 2 hours away, on the floor of the ridge there. Luckily I have the bags to carry the scope in and it was in there. I collimated with the barlowed laser and then since the pickup was there with all its lights going off, I used a sight tube to complete the collimation. Really close, (I completed a passive collimation this week to get the collimation where I want it), which was good and I then screwed down the locking knobs with a screw driver. I found that this gave me a scare and I'm finding that you have to really watch the locking knobs with that large 2 inch mirror.

Other than that, I had a most enjoyable night and at the end, around 3:00a.m., Jupiter was promising so I took a gander and though not as sharp as Wolf Creek Pass, since the seeing was not quite as good, it was still good enough to give a terrific view. The northern bands above the northern equatorial band was clearly evident, clear, sharp and crisp. Fine detail was also evident both nights on the king of the planets.

When the sketches are done, I'll post but that will probably be next week before everything is ready to go.

Some items at Wolf Creek Pass: NGC 205 or M 110; M 31, M 32, M 33, NGC 147, 185. Also NGC 520, 250, and a few other galaxies, lots of NGC items and a few Messier.

Items at Lakeside: NGC 404, Mirach's Ghost (this was a fun and great observation, good detail for it and I like my sketch of it); NGC 488, fun object and I teased out some details; NGC 524, NGC 651 (M-76), another great observation and very pleased with my sketch; an my favorite of that night, NGC 1023, just a fun galaxy to observe with Perseus coming up. There were other objects but is enough for now.


I now want to share another hobby outside of astronomy that I have, and that is hiking. Fall by far is my favorite season and I truly enjoy fall where I live. Here are some images to get you ready. I took a short drive and hike today and found that the colors are starting to change in the canyons here . . . . oh yeah!



About 15 minutes from where I live . . . .






























About 5 minutes from the above view of the quaking Aspens. . . I like the combination of yellow and orange here.























Yep, plenty of maples out west that go a beautiful red.
































I love this hill and the images it provides through all the seasons.


























I've actually photographed each of these locations over the last four years and am comparing them season to season with moisture and other conditions that occur. This year should be brilliant as we have had major water (with plenty of clouds) this year. So I guess there is a silver lining in the clouds, I'll get great fall colors to enjoy! I'll get those sketches up soon with the video (within a week).