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Another Special Guest, Cloudy Session

Posted: 14 May 2018

Sunday, 13 May 2018, dawned clear. Winds returned during the day and the sky became mostly cloudy mid-day, which was not forecast. Another special guest, a foreign exchange student from Vienna, Austria, and her local host, were to come that evening so I opened the observatory in case we had some viewing opportunities.

Open: Sunday, 13 May 2018, 1905 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session: 1229
Conditions: Mostly cloudy, windy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece


Due to the cloudy skies I delayed powering on the Meade 12" telescope until after my guests arrived.

1915 MST: photo of the western sky as the sun set:


1917 MST: sunset.

1921 MST: spotted Venus briefly through a hole in the clouds.

I then relaxed on the observatory patio bench, looking up at the clouds and some occasionally visible stars.

2000 MST: returned to the observatory. The sky was still mostly cloudy with some strong wind gusts occurring.

2021 MST: the constellation of Leo was visible through a hole in the clouds. I took this handheld photo with the Nikon D850 DSLR (f/2.8, 1 second, ISO 6400, FL 24mm) of Leo and some clouds:


A few minutes later I took this handheld D850 DSLR photo with the Nikon (f/2.8, 1 second, ISO 6400, FL 24mm) of the Big Dipper and some clouds:


The double star Mizar and Alcor in the handle are visible in the photo.

2045 MST: the guests arrived.

2055 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

We first viewed M104 (Sombrero Galaxy), 102X. Next up was the Leo Triplet of Galaxies (M65, M66, and NGC3628 Sarah's Galaxy), 81X. All three galaxies were visible in the eyepiece field-of-view. The view of these galaxies was especially intriguing to the guest from Austria as her Zodiacal Sign is Leo. The last object we viewed was Jupiter and its four Galilean Moons, 102X. The equatorial cloud bands were especially nice this night.

2128 MST: the guests left. I'm glad we had some holes in the clouds which allowed some objects to be viewed.

2132 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Sunday, 13 May 2018, 2140 MST
Temperature: 66°F
Session Length: 2h 35m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

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