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2nd "First Light" Anniversary

Posted: 18 August 2011

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After my previous daytime sun observing session on 4 August, cloudy skies with occasional monsoon rain showers returned. This weather pattern continued through today and is forecast to continue for at least the next week. See the webcam time-lapse movies for some examples of the weather during this period.

Today, Thursday, 18 August, dawned mostly clear. This date is the 2nd anniversary of "First Light" at Cassiopeia Observatory. As I did last year, I did some general clean up outside and inside the observatory. I opened the observatory at 0728 MST, temperature 80°F. The sky was mostly clear. I was hoping I would be able to do some solar observing and imaging after I completed the observatory cleaning (but that turned out to not be possible). I first vacuumed the "patio" area outside of the SkyShed POD. I then moved everything except the telescope out of the POD:


That's a lot of stuff! Here are the now empty bays:



As I removed each item, I cleaned the surfaces to remove dust that had accumulated over the last year. When I removed a couple of the items, I discovered a lot of babies beneath them. Baby spiders, that is. Seemed like there were hundreds of them! With everything outside of the observatory, I vacuumed the floor and then washed off the floors, walls, and tops of the five POD bays. I finished all that at 1025 MST. The temperature was 97°F. Whew!

At 1153 MST, 100°F, I was not quite done moving everything inside the POD. I was getting pooped and so I was taking frequent short rests. But I was now hearing thunder from a monsoon storm to the northwest:


At 1215 MST, I was hearing thunder from a storm to the southeast and seeing rain from a storm in the north. Fortunately, I was now done with moving. I just had to reconnect the various electrical items: red rope lighting, fan, radio, and clock. I decided to not connect up the telescope due to the approaching storms.

I set the time on the clock and closed the observatory at 1300 MST, 99°F. I then walked the 150 feet to the house and by the time I got there, the local electric utility company had turned off the power. I'll have to reset the time on the clock in the observatory. This first power outage was short (20 minutes), followed by a 1 hour 35 minute outage later in the afternoon. This is a common occurrence whenever there are storms in the area. Unlike commercial electric companies, our electric company is run by the Federal Government and has antiquated and possibly not well-maintained equipment.

The storms continued after sunset and so there was no observing on the 2nd "Cassiopeia Observatory First Light" anniversary.

Due to this very long period of cloudy nights, I missed several prime ISS imaging opportunities. I'll have to wait a little longer to try out the faster shutter speed video recording. Friday night, 12 August, the neighbor on the hill turned on their bright "street" nuisance light again. The un-illuminated view of the hill had been nice while it lasted. I just wish I had had more than one clear night in the last month without this source of light pollution.

In other news, I have updated the Links page with some new URLs.


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