LSA 3-28 and 3-29

by Rob Hawley

Several of us opted for very dark skies instead of the marathon. Lake San Antonio is the closed really dark place I have visited. We were not disappointed. When we could see the sky, it was dark.

If you have not visited LSA in the spring it is really a treat. The field we use for observing is covered with wildflowers. Here is a picture.

Also I am starting to accumulate panoramas of the various viewing spots I have used. So the folder contains LSA, Coyote, Dino (have not observed there yet), and Fremont Peak. For those new to TAC this will give you some idea of the various sites. I have annotated the pictures with approximate compass directions.

I plan to add to this folder as I visit more sites. It does not currently contain Coe since I have not visited there since I began taking panoramas.

Fri Mar 28

Daytime temp84 (29% humidity)
Midnight temp34 (97% humidity)

The evening started clear with only a patch of clouds to the east. The Milky Way in Orion was clearly visible after sunset. I was interested mostly in Leo-Virgo and Ursa Major. Up until about 11 PM the transparency was excellent. The seeing was terrible even stars at zenith had noticeable flicker. Orion was really dancing. As the evening progress it became apparent we were looking through high clouds. Omega Centauri was visible in the southern sky in late evening. About 11 PM the humidity approached 100% and the clouds started to thicken. At that point we lost transparency. When I made a pit stop at 3AM only the brightest stars were visible.

Sat Mar 30


This started the opposite way from last night. At 7PM it was completely overcast and we were expecting an early night. By about 8 PM holes had opened near Ursa Major. This hole opened until it covered virtually the entire sky. The seeing was much better then the previous night ( II or III). We did not measure visual magnitude but through my scope (10" f/10 SCT) I could make out mag 13.99 stars. These were easily visible in another 10" SCT with a better diagonal. A 20" obsession was able to resolve the spiral structure in M51. In my scope you could see hints of the structure. The seeing and transparency held all night this time even after the humidity got up around 100%. It was very cold and wet. About 3 AM we watched Sagittarius rise in the east. The Milky Way there was bright and showed structure. A less intense branch was visible higher in the sky going toward Cygnus.

I was trying to observe all of the M objects in Leo/Virgo and Ursa Major over the weekend. I completed Ursa Major, but a couple remained in Leo/Virgo. I did pick up a number of additional NGC and Caldwell objects on Friday night.