Mel Marsh (melsmarsh) wrote in perserverations,
Mel Marsh
melsmarsh
perserverations

Since astronomy is one of my special interests, maybe you guys will be interested in my astronomy log.



Weather Conditions at beginning of observing (from weather.com):
Clear
Temp: 64 degrees F
Wind: From NE at 8 mph
Humidity: 71%
Pressure: 30.23 in
Dew Point: 55 degrees F
Visibility: 10 miles

You can assume all of these are AM in EST on Sept 6, 2005

2:00- Went out to the front yard with the following equipment: telescope (apparently this is a nonastronomical telescope as no one has been able to make this work), paper, pencil, clipboard (with hardcopies of the 2:00 am sky from each horizon provided by MyStars! 32 Bit software), laptop computer with stand, hurricane lamp, and a sword (for protection)

2:09- Noticed a bright red object in the E corner of the sky. It’s not moving and now twinkling. My guess is that it is likely Mars. (This was later confirmed by the printout.)

2:18- Located fuzzy cloudy thing near Mars. Distance- if I hold my arm out (arm + wrist measurement is about 23 inches) and spread my little finger and index finger (about 4.5 inches) it is about that distance with Mars being more towards the zenith than the cloudy thing. I can’t look directly at the object or it appears to disappear. (MyStars! showed the Pleiades as being the only thing I could have seen in that location without a telescope.)

2:21- Still trying to identify Polaris, although I know exactly where North is.

2:24- Notice another cloudy substance somewhere between item noted at 2:18 am and a constellation that looks like a question mark (later identified as Cassiopeia). Wonder if this is the Milky Way then start to doubt that it would be able to be seen from my location.

2:35- Shooting star! Went right over my head and disappeared into the NW portion of the sky.

2:47- I think I have found Polaris. I was not able to find it earlier because of all the light pollution washing out most of the stars from the constellations.

3:01- Printed out weather conditions. (Same as 2:00)

3:05- Plane in the lower E portion of the sky. About a handspan (3.5 inches at 23 inches) above roof level.

3:14- Shooting Star came in near the NE horizon. Very short trail traveled near parallel to ecliptic.

3:20- Shooting star, 2.5 handspans (nearly 9 inches at 23 inches) above NE horizon. Traveled towards horizon.

3:22- Shooting star NE, very short trail, went towards zenith

3:23- Plane, NE near horizon

3:27- Very unusual Plane or possible UFO, just under Polaris, very strange lights.

3:36- Frank (husband) came out and commented on seeing the Milky Way so we decided the item spotted at 2:24 was the Milky way.

3:41- Checked star program and confirmed question mark found at 2:24 was Cassiopeia.

3:53- Plane due east, 2 handspans (7 inches at 23 inches) above horizon.

3:55- found a funny pattern in the sky. Looks like a y in the W sky. (Based on sketches, I established I was looking at 61 Peg, Mu1 Cyg, 14 Peg, Kappa Peg, and 2 Peg)

3:58- Viewing conditions disrupted due to a light coming on.

4:00- Viewing Resumed

4:01- Orion became visible in the East. One of Orion’s shoulders is blinking like mad. And it’s glowing red. (Confirmed: Betelgeuse is that shoulder, and it is a variable red supergiant). There is a fuzzy cloudy thing a little East and towards the horizon of the belt, but it is above the other foot of Orion. Is this Orion nebula? (MyStars! says that it is.)

4:12- Orion’s head looks cloudy. His other shoulder looks blue (Bellatrix: Blue giant) and the foot closer to the zenith appears to be periodically glowing blue (Rigel, blue supergiant). The whole constellation is twinkling like mad.

4:16- Mars looks as if it is right above the house.

4:17- Wind is picking up. Burr...

4:20- Shooting star from the East going towards Orion

4:26- I am losing the entire North sky due to light pollution. I realize this because I just lost Polaris. Either the star I identified as Polaris decided after not moving for an hour and a half to do a disappearing, or the trees decided to grow, or most of the lights in Conyers/Atlanta decided to come on. Now my darkest sky is the east so I am going to change positions to focus on that sky.

4:30- Observing resumed.

4:38- Plane crossed from NE to Eastern sky, just above the horizon

4:40- Item at 2:18 am has moved over to be parallel with Mars. (This further confirms the identification of it as Pleiades).

4:44- Shooting Star, East in Orion.

4:46- There are a set of stars that look as if they are holding up Mars (Based on a pictures, I identified the stars as 5 Tau, 4 Tau, Xi Tau, and Omicron Tau)

4:48- Losing NE sky, Covington.

4:49- Shooting star near zenith, went East

4:55- There is a pattern of 10 stars that looks like an M. This amuses me. (Based on a picture, I identified 7 of the stars as being part of the middle of Taurus. The other 3 stars were Tau Tauri, Kappa1 Tauri, and Upsilon Tauri)

5:00- Shooting Star in Orion. This concludes Mel's adventures in hypothermia

Weather Conditions at end of observing (from weather.com):
Clear
Temp: 63 degrees F
Wind: From NE at 11 mph
Humidity: 79%
Pressure: 30.22 in
Dew Point: 56 degrees F
Visibility: 10 miles



Summary:

8 Shooting Stars
1 Nebula (Orion)
1 Open cluster (Pleiades)
1 Galaxy (Milky Way, obviously)
1 Planet (Mars)
5 Planes
Was able to determine the names of several stars, including 2 positive constellation identifications (Orion and Cassiopeia). Was further able to determine colour of 3 of those stars (Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Rigel).

Crossposted to my personal journal with slightly more information about the last 15 minutes of viewing.
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