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Short Night of Observing, Sirius B (Pup Star);
Observatory Upgrades Status

Posted: 27 January 2016

Clouds returned on Monday, 25 January 2016, but the sky was mostly clear by sunset. Unfortunately, I was fighting off a mild cold so didn't go out to the observatory. Tuesday, 26 January, was clear but breezy during the day. Although I was still fighting off the mild cold I decided to visit the observatory for as long as I could.

Open: Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 1817 MST
Temperature: 55°F
Session: 912
Conditions: Clear, some breezes

1825 MST: viewed the planet Neptune, 83X. Then viewed the planet Uranus, 83X.

1832 MST: viewed M42 (Orion Nebula), 83X. The sky was bright 44 minutes before the end of Astronomical Twilight. Some central nebulosity was visible and the Trapezium stars were nice. 1842 MST: almost all of the Orion Nebula was now faintly visible against the still bright sky.

1845 MST: viewed the double star Castor, 83X. Then NGC2392 (Eskimo Nebula, planetary nebula), 83X. The sky was too bright for good viewing of the nebula.

1854 MST: switched to the OPT 15mm eyepiece (133X) with a #82 Light Blue filter to try observing Sirius B (the "Pup Star"), companion star to bright Sirius A. First, slewed to Rigel in Orion to check the separation of its companion star, which is just slightly less than the Sirius A-B separation. Then slewed to Sirius and began trying to see Sirius B. 1907 MST: under less than ideal conditions (Sirius was still low in the sky and viewed as it rose behind a tree), I finally succeeded in viewing the Pup Star, 133X. The Blue Filter really helped. I did not even have to move Sirius A out of the eyepiece field-of-view (FOV); I observed Sirius B at the center of the FOV. Thanks to John Hothersall (Sky & Telescope magazine, March 2016) for the filter tip!

1922 MST: switched back to the Meade 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X) and viewed the Eskimo Nebula again; view much better now against the dark sky.

The breezes were getting stronger and more frequent now. I was beginning to feel the affects of my cold so decided to close up.

Close: Tuesday, 26 January 2016, 1936 MST
Temperature: 45°F
Session Length: 1h 19m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

Observatory Upgrades Status: I spoke with Wayne Parker, SkyShed Observatories, on Saturday, 16 January, about the POD Zenith Table (PZT). The PZT should ship soon. I still need to purchase some components for the PZT locally. Hope to do that soon. I have scheduled my visit to OPT for Tuesday, 9 February, to discuss the 12" LX600 telescope, Pier-Tech 2 pier, and various desired accessories. Things are beginning to happen!

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