Saeger Middle School - Jan 13, 2010

posted Jan 14, 2010, 5:33 PM by Jim Twellman
The cold winter temps eased up a bit and allowed this event to be pleasant.  It was around 43 degrees at sunset.  Grant Martin and I set up our scopes along with the school's 8" Orion dob handled by the teacher, Pat Zeitz.

It was a school night, along with other extracurricular activities, so the crowd was down from last year.  About 6 people stayed for views the entire time (roughly 6:30 to 7:45), one kid was in shorts and no coat the entire time.  Another dozen or so popped in for only about 10 minutes, for a total of 18 visitors (plus Pat).   Items viewed thru the scopes included: Jupiter,  the Pleiades (thru Grant's 2.5" Celestron 1st scope dob), the Andromeda Galaxy, Gamma Andromeda, Mars, the Orion Nebula (M42), Hind's Crimson Star (R Leporis), and M15 glob in Pegasus.

The sky was clear but the seeing seemed to come and go a lot, especially limiting at high magnifications.   The upper atmosphere was evidently churning as milder air was flowing in from the south.  Lots of parking lot lights at this location, you needed to shade your eyes more than 180 degrees.  It is about as difficult here as it is at the planetarium in Forest Park.  I was unable to pull out the Crab with my 16".   Aperature does not rule, dark skies do.

Despite the seeing and the glare, I was very glad to get the scope out.  I think it was the first time in over two months, due to the very wet, cloudy, and cold weather of late.  I hope our luck gets better soon.

Jim Twellman