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Power Outage Session

Posted: 18 November 2016

The sky was cloudy on Wednesday, 16 November 2016. Thursday, 17 November, dawned clear and windy, but clouds appeared mid-morning. Fortunately, there was rapid clearing and by mid-afternoon the sky was clear again. However, the sky was very hazy or (dusty; still windy).

Open: Thursday, 17 November 2016, 1740 MST
Temperature: 70°F
Session: 1044
Conditions: Clear, hazy, some breezes

1745 MST: POWER OUTAGE! As I was standing inside the observatory looking out to the west I saw a flash of light that illuminated the trees and I heard a faint "pop". I then noticed that there was no electricity in the observatory. Apparently a transformer blew somewhere nearby. Distant lights were still on but there were no lights seen in the neighborhood.

1758 MST: called the local electrical utility (run by the US Federal Government) but since it was after-hours I got a recorded message. It said "to report a power outage press 1". I pressed 1 and got a message that said they were not accepting recorded messages. SHEESH. What great service by our Federal Government.

1825 MST: still no power. But I was enjoying looking up at the night sky. The Milky Way was nicely visible overhead.

1830 MST: began setting up to try to photograph a shadow from the planet Venus, which was Magnitude -4.1 this night. Unfortunately, it was somewhat low in the southwestern sky where there was some skyglow from Oro Valley.

1848 MST: with Astronomical Twilight ending I attempted to see and photograph a shadow from a paperclip. Both failed, probably due to the skyglow. Will have to find a better location for this experiment.

1857 MST: still no power. I decided to give up for the night.

Close: Thursday, 17 November 2016, 1913 MST
Temperature: 55°F
Session Length: 1h 33m
Conditions: Clear, calm

1943 MST: the power came on. I didn't return to the observatory as I didn't trust that the power would stay on. Too many times in the past we've had intermittent power following restoration. But as it turned out, this night it stayed on.

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