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Messages - Peter Natscher

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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 Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point what a night, 23 February
« on: March 01, 2017, 09:20:22 AM »
That was IC 2003 in Perseus I was sketching. It is a small 7" diameter planetary at magnitude 12.6 and a nice blue in color.  Recognizable initially at 100X, I sketched and observed it at 350X.

We had excellent seeing last Thursday night.  This was my fifth outing this winter, pretty good considering all the rain we've had.  Winter time observing is all about getting out at the opportune time week nights included, and the temperature is usually near freezing by 10pm. We are fortunate to have Dinosaur Point as a astronomy site.

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I'll be there by 5pm.  :D

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Observing Reports / Re: OR: Dino Sat Jan 28 - A grouping of fellow TACOs
« on: February 07, 2017, 08:47:51 PM »
R Leporis has a color index of 5.9 being the redist carbon star but close to it is DY Crucis at 5.8 that Dave C. and I observed from Oz last spring.  It's a lot more striking to see in the same filed of view being so close to bright blue Beta Crucis.

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Observing Intents / Re: Dinosaur Point Saturday night
« on: January 27, 2017, 07:12:03 PM »
I'm in also for Saturday. I'll take the clear wintertime skies as they come.

The three of us, with George Feliz and Jamie, had had great observing last night (Thursday) at Dino! Temps were 36°-41° and moderate RH at around 75%. NELM was 6.2-6.3.  Wearing multiple layers of clothing, the climate was fine. We saw rabbits running around the parking lot at sunset and so we observed in Lepus!

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Observing Intents / Re: Dinosaur Point Thursday night, 26 January
« on: January 26, 2017, 02:31:02 PM »
I'll be at Dino, ETA 4:30pm.  Dress for 30's temps!  I'll be observing fall and winter planetaries and galaxy groups with the 16" JP Astrocraft Dob!!

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Observing Intents / Re: OI - Fremont Peak Tuesday 1/17/2017
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:10:26 AM »
WX is looking more unstable during the week.  Rain on Wednesday. Will watch and go for it if at the last minute if clear skies opportunity arises.  Maybe Thursday or Friday according to the SkippySky forecasts.

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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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Rants and Off Topic / Re: The Beginning And End Of The Universe
« on: January 08, 2017, 07:04:29 PM »
What a downer!  You coud'a watched "Singing In The Rain" ;)

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TAC Visual / Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« on: December 31, 2016, 07:15:15 PM »
I can see them nicely in my tripod-mounted 10x54 binos.

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TAC-AL / Re: More TAC-AL Awards (and full list)
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:03:31 PM »
AL Awards:

Herschel 400 (manual locating with sketches) 2003
Herschel II (manual locating with sketches) 2007

I guess I'm due for another list for 2017?

Peter Natscher

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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 / Re: Pinnacles Wednesday night, 21 December
« on: December 20, 2016, 11:41:28 AM »
A few weeks ago observing at Dino, the temp. went down to 42°F by 11pm but was dry.  Once out in this kind of environment for a few hours with good clothing, you forget about the temperature and enjoy being outside under the stars seeing the late fall and winter sky -- and doing this with good company.   ;)

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Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Wednesday night, 21 December
« on: December 20, 2016, 06:50:47 AM »
It's forecasted to be around 40°F by midnight, not too bad as long as its dry.  Wear your ice fishing attire :))  My ETA: 4pm. 

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Observing Reports / Re: Presolar light at Dinosaur Point last night
« on: December 03, 2016, 09:02:31 AM »
'Twas a great night on Thursday with our bunch of cookie eating, Trump talking, and cold complaining observers.  With the right winter (skiing) clothes, it wasn't that cold at 42°.  The low 50% RH helped a lot in keeping conditions dry and more comfortable. What a sight watching the ISS rise from the SW dusk and cross the earth shine part of the thin crescent Moon.  Really 3D considering the distances between those two glamorous objects! 

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