Chillin With My Homies

by Jim Ster

I think it owuld be neat to invite ARnold and family to IHOP in the summer, just so he can see the scope of the problem.

Shneor, I think Arnold's press corps would probably have enough bright white lights on their cameras to create their own mobile light domes. Do you think I could get him to autograph the box from my 31mm Termi-Nagler?

Anyway, I really was not too cold last night, and I still had layers I did not use. Too bad the sky was so uncooperative; I literally recollimated 4 times because I couldn't believe the star images were so bad with a 9mm eyepiece! It was great to see so many observing buddies again.

It sure was great to see everyone again, but with skies yielding only 3 sometimes 4 stars in the trapezium, it was pretty much an eye candy evening as far as any observing went. I kept my 31 and 26 mm Naglers in the scope practically all night long. Like Shneor, I collimated more than once thinking something was off. Only once did I take a shot at higher powers with my 12mm in the area around NGC 1275, the brightest component in the Persius super cluster. But alas, I was only able to see about 8 or so mushy galaxies in the FOV, so I gave up on using my higher power eyepieces and stuck to wide field viewing (well as wide as it gets anyway in an f4.1 22").

The Pleiades turned out to be a special treat. I was easily able to make out quite a bit of nebulosity around some of the components. At first I thought it was some atmospheric water vapor causing the fog of the nebula around one of the brighter stars, but upon closer examination, the wisp was clearly offset from the star and was more oval shaped than round. I was happy when Randy confirmed the observation for me.

When I left right at Midnight I was asked to check the temperature from the thermometer in my truck and report back on it. It said "26 Degrees". Brrrrrrr.

A very special "Thank You!" to Gene and Bill for their much appreciated hospitality. Those portable astro-shacks are just the ticket for long cold winter observing nights. Gene, that fresh hot coffee with the half & half was the kill.

It sounds like there was a bit more wind at BC then we had at IHOP. But it was that 4 - 5 mph breeze at IHOP that did me in, as well as the lousy seeing contributing to a lack of motivation. I think you probably had had the perfect combination of clothing for the conditions, except for not having a balaclava (I had inadvertently left my balaclava at home and had to use a backup hood without any facial protection). I had a very similarly layered outfit on except I was lacking that final, "thin parka like" layer to keep the wind from penetrating the layers. If I'd of had that, I'm sure I'd of lasted indefinitely.

I'm going to do what Jane has suggested and take another look into the Cabala's catalog. Last time I looked, they had some snowmobile suits that looked perfect for what we encountered the other evening.

Is anyone interested in possibly going out on Wednesday night?