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Topics - pnatscher

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Observing Intents / Observing Tuesday NIght?
« on: March 27, 2017, 07:45:40 AM »
The weather forecast looks good for Tuesday night at our observing sites.  It’s New Moon on Tuesday!  The Moon sets too late for Friday and the weekend observing.  Anyone interested in getting out to observe Tuesday night?

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TAC Visual / Mars MRO Video
« on: March 21, 2017, 06:57:48 PM »
An inspiring video from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to enjoy during our rainy weather.  View full screen!

https://www.dpreview.com/news/0910986466/real-3d-images-of-mars-make-up-this-video-of-a-simulated-flight-over-the-red-planet

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Observing Intents / OI - Fremont Peak Tuesday 1/17/2017
« on: January 14, 2017, 02:28:25 PM »
I might observe from Fremont Peak, in the SW Lot or the FPOA Observatory gated area on Tuesday night.  I'll watch to see if the Wx remains favorable. Right now (Saturday), the Wx forecast is for clouds and rain Wednesday and through the weekend so Tues. might be the last chance to get out for observing this week.

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I was able to observe for 4+ hours (7-11:30pm) from Pinnacles National Park - West Entrance main parking lot. It was my first visit to Pinnacles West and I concluded that it is a darker site than Fremont Peak with similar driving time of an hour from Monterey. I was using my 16" f/4.5 JP Astrocraft Dob and was observing with Jamie Dillon and Steve Winston.  The night turned out to be very nice for astronomy with pleasant winter conditions: no wind, very good seeing and transparency and slight dew on my paper maps that disappeared by 10pm. By 8:00pm, the temperature bottomed to 40°F and 72% RH but warmed to 45°F/65%RH by 10:30pm.  The SQM read 21.45 at 8pm. The winter Milky Way was sugary in appearance stretching from Cassiopeia overhead and southward through Orion and Canis Major. with dark zones very apparent.

With the favorable sky conditions, I was able to spot to the south the large and very faint galaxy IC 1613 in Cetus, (the dwarf member of the Local Galaxy Group); a beautiful pair of close galaxies NGC 1531/1532 in Eridanus at -32°DEC; NGC 1808 in Columba at -37°DEC, a striking long edge-on galaxy with sharp opposing halo ends and prominent elongated core; and a interesting pair of galaxies very unequal in size NGC 1888/1889 in Lepus.  My best showpiece object shared with visitors who arrived that night was the best open cluster in Auriga - M37.  This large cluster fills the low power eyepiece field of view with countless young bluish-white stars, and interestingly one orange star at its center.  I will definitely return to Pinnacles National Park - West Entrance again for observing, and for daytime hiking!http://smf.observers.org/Smileys/default/wink.gif

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Observing Intents / OI - Dinosaur Point, Thursday, December 1st
« on: November 24, 2016, 12:49:20 PM »
OI for Dinosaur Point next Thursday, December 1st. Four to five of us are planning to be there to kick off the Dino observing season.  Mag 6.2 skies and great southern horizon to catch all those southern fall season galaxies and arriving winter milky way objects.  Dress warmly for forecasted low 40's temperatures by midnight.

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Observing Reports / OR: Fremont Peak, Sunday, May 29, 2016
« on: June 01, 2016, 12:10:34 PM »
Last night (Sunday night, May 29, 2016) from the FPOA area, Mark McCarthy, Dave Cooper and I observed a nice variety of celestial wonders from the three most popular outer planets to galaxies and globular clusters.  The Wx forecast from Weather.com and Clear Sky Clock for the evening was ominous: 100% humidity and dew by 11pm and poor transparency from very high sky moisture. None of this occurred! Instead, we enjoyed warmer and dryer conditions with no dew and very good seeing, no wind and a fairly dark sky reminiscent of fine summertime conditions. I was observing with my 16" JP Astrocraft Dob with tracking. The seeing so good we were able to sharply watch a Io shadow transit on Jupiter, a tack sharp Saturn, and a feature rich Mars at 350X with brighter polar regions, fine darker surface markings and white atmospheric limb haze.  I followed Io's transit across Jupiter's face with its shadow trailing behind.  I was using my bino's for my planetary observing.  I also was able to discern magnitude 14-15 galaxies in Hickson 61 (ComaBern) and 68 (CanesVen) as well as studying the complex Hercules Galaxy Cluster Abell 2151 featured with images by Steve Gottlieb's S&T  July 2016 article. Steve's S&T article with labeled photos were very helpful in finding the many galaxies.  I also was able to see the distant and obscure globular cluster Palomar 5 in Serpens.  A satisfying evening!

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Observing Intents / Fremont Peak Tonight - Sunday May 8, 2016!
« on: May 08, 2016, 09:33:59 AM »
I'm going to try Fremont Peak tonight with my 16" JP Astrocraft dob.  I can do the FPOA area (I have a gate combo number) or the SW Parking lot.  Any takers?

A not so bright 2 day old Moon sets by 10:30pm, sunset by 8pm.  The skies are forecast to be clear enough for observing brighter objects and planetary.  It's the last night to observe deep sky until next new Moon. Maybe Mars will show something so near to its 2-yar opposition.

See you there!
Peter

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The weather break from El Nino to  a week of clear skies in mid-winter and around the new Moon has me excited to get out and observe.  I'm going to Fremont Peak (FPOA area on the Pads) Saturday night and Dino on Sunday.  Perhaps watching the great planetary line-up all week has me stoked.  With Mercury moving west out of the Sun, the five planets are visible in a line all week and now this morning a crescent Moon moves from east from Saturn next to Venus and Mercury.

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Observing Intents / Friday's Dec. 4th Weather Forecast Is For Clear Skies
« on: December 02, 2015, 07:41:50 PM »
It now looks like Friday night Dec. 4th will be the one night this week for clear skies after the weather's cold front and rain pass through by Thursday afternoon.  If this happens, I'll get in some observing up at Fremont Peak south west parking lot or behind the gate at the secure FPOA.  The following Saturday Dec 12th, I won't make it out (company Christmas party) and the extended forecast is for clouds and possible rain. During the winter time, you get out to observe when you can with one day's forecast.

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Observing Intents / OI - Fremont Peak Observatory Area - Friday Nov 13,2015
« on: November 12, 2015, 09:25:32 AM »
Since Saturday night is forecast to be cloudy with approaching rain, I'm going to do my observing with my 16" JP Astrocraft Dob Friday night inside the gate up at the Fremont Peak Observatory area.  Skippy Sky forecasts for Friday night is for a great night with super transparency and seeing.  I'll look for four moons around Uranus!   ;D

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Observing Intents / OI - Fremont Peak - FPOA Area
« on: November 05, 2015, 07:28:46 AM »
OI for Fremont Peak FPOA Observatory area for Friday night, Nov. 6.  Wx forecasts clear skies for Friday night and increasing cloudiness for Saturday night, so I'm getting out Friday night.  This time of year, you take the clear nights as they come.  I want to observe objects south of 0° Dec into Cetus, Fornax, Eridanus.  The FPOA area has a great S. horizon down to -54°.

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Observing Intents / Clouded Out Tonight -- Weird Weather
« on: September 12, 2015, 06:24:25 PM »
The ocean once again took control of our mainland weather and clouded us out for any astronomy observing tonight.  The Pacific is reminding us that it has ultimate control.  Time to play one of my favorites: " Under The Milky Way" by the Aussie band, The Church.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWxJEIz7sSA
Yipee!  I will be under the Milky Way entirely in Coonabarabran at the OzSky Safari next April 2016!  The song really hits home.

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Observing Intents / OI: FREMONT PEAK, Tuesday August 18
« on: August 18, 2015, 09:05:22 AM »
OI for me for Fremont Peak tonight. The weather forecast for Fremont Peak looks very good for tonight with clear skies, warm temps. and a good marine fog layer below and surrounding the mountain for a darker than average sky above.  Moonset will be 10:04pm.

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Observing Intents / Fremont Peak, Tuesday May 12
« on: May 10, 2015, 03:10:15 PM »
I'm planning to observe from Fremont Peak Tuesday night May 12th in the SW Lot or FPOA area and can meetup with other(s) at either location.  The weather forecast from Wednesday through Saturday for observing is looking increasingly poor with some possibility of rain by Friday and Saturday.

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TAC Visual / Who's Observing Where This Saturday Night?
« on: April 10, 2015, 02:21:56 PM »
It is looking like a decent weather forecast for Saturday night to get out and do observing in.  I am getting out!  Springtime galaxies are waiting to be seen and there's a Io moon shadow transit on Jupiter occurring Saturday night for planetary observers.  Who's going where to observe?  Who can I meet up with and where?

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