Saturday night at the observing sites....

by Jane Houston Jones

FPeak had "okay" skies, kinda hazy, with bad dew by 11 p.m.

I think this just shows different peoples level of experience, and differences in equipment. Some of the observers up on the new pads and new observation deck were working on projects, like the AL Double Star project in an SCT. That scope had a bigger problem with dew, and it's no fun looking at double stars through a dewed up corrector plate. The differences in finders also hindered the various observers in different ways. People relying on their finders to hunt projects had more problems than I did, just using a telrad on Messiers. And some eyepieces fogged up, some didn't. I think the group "down below" :-) were a little more experienced observers and some certainly had dew zap solutions.

There got to be a point when some people just couldn't use their equipment for their particular project and had to just give up, plus a bunch of us had 9:00 a.m. volunteer training at Mount Tamalpais, so we were a little tired. Also, it was 36 degrees and some people are bigger weather wimps than others. :-) Big dobs aiming at bright objects - like me and my 9 yr old pal Anna, were unfazed by the dew. I think the energy and heat emitted by a 9 year old kept our personal observing space warmer. We had no problem - I wasn't using the finder scope too much, but my finder is an Orion Short Tube 80 which has more of a dew shield than the other models dew, I mean do. I hung on and observed for a half hour or and hour after everyone else in my location. So while we all had basically the same weather, diffrent folks had different scopes.


That is why it is nice for people to put location condition data in their observing reports. The readers and other observers learn a lot. By the way, I used the same LM chart in Gemini as Peter Saturday night, and got the same LM as he did. And tonight at Lake Sonoma, where we were alone except for a couple carloads of very polite young partiers, who drove in with lights off and used red flashlights, LM was 6.2 and also quite high humidity, but it didn't stop us from knocking off more than a handful of Hicksons and Herschels. We rode those scopes hard tonight and they were soaking wet when we headed down the road again.