Coe - clouds and Leonids

by Craig Colvin

Over the weekend the weather reports looked good for Tuesday night so I arranged my schedule so I could observe that night. As the day approached the weather reports didn't look as good, and the CSC showed complete cloud cover at Coe by midnight. But I chose not believe the CSC and took off for Coe.

Arrived at 6:00pm and the lot was empty. There were clouds hanging out over the valley to the west but it was clear to the south and east. Mark Berger arrived a few minutes later and we setup our scopes and started observing. I was observing H400s in Cygnus and had found one but couldn't seem to find the next one. I then looked up and noticed that there was a thin layer of clouds covering Cygnus and moving east. By 7:00 there was just a few holes in the clouds to the east. I managed to bag one more H400 in Cas before I gave up on DSOs for the evening due to the clouds.

Mark and I spent some time looking at Mars and I looked at a few double stars. By 8pm the sky was covered by a thin layer of clouds and we were both talking about packing it up. About that time Jerry Elmer showed up. We chatted for awhile and I started packing up my scope which seemed to be the appropriate sacrifice because during that time the clouds started to clear a little. But after I got all packed they came back. The clouds were like this all evening. They didn't seem to be moving but would just suddenly form above us and then dissipate. The north, west and south remained covered but the east and zenith would often be completely clear.

Mark decided to bail, but I decided I would stick around to perhaps catch the Leonids. Between breaks in the clouds I managed to see 6 meteors between 8pm-11pm. From 11pm-12pm I saw 2. The clouds came on strong around midnight so I packed it up and came home. Jerry was planning on staying until 4am. Hope it was worthwhile for him.

I think next time I will put a little more faith in the CSC.

p.s. My parents in Aptos were up from 2am-4am in Aptos, said it was very clear. They only saw one meteor.