The weather forecasts were good for Friday night and somewhat less good for Saturday night. Since I was not certain when I would be able to make another trip to Oracle Observatory I decided to take a chance on this weekend. I left home at 0450 PDT Friday morning and arrived at Oracle at 1315 MST. The temperature was 95°F with some high cirrus clouds and an occasional breeze blowing.
After setting up everything I did my usual walk-around and managed to get a photograph of this bird (Western Kingbird):
While the cactus plants had passed their "blooming stage" I did see this one (Yucca elata), which made an interesting contrast with the green foreground plants and the blue sky in the background:
But as sunset approached that blue sky was giving way to more and more high clouds. The temperature had dropped to 80°F.
But it did make for a very pretty sunset!
Unfortunately, the sky was mostly covered by these high clouds. I did sneak in a quick look at Venus through a small hole at 1940 MST; it appeared about "half phase". Following the look at Venus I decided to get some sleep. I went back to the "astronomer's quarters" (my tent) and turned on "The Life of Riley" (old time radio show) on my iPod mini and promptly went to sleep. I had set an alarm for 2200 MST but woke up at 2145; I went outside and discovered that the sky was mostly clear (some high cirrus was in the south and west). The temperature was now 72°F. Since the weather on my previous trip had not allowed me try out my new Nikon DG-2 Eyepiece Magnifier for my D70 DSLR plus Off-Axis Guider I decided to take advantage of the current clear skies and do some testing.
I set up my photographic equipment, aligned the LXD75-8"SC telescope (using a One Star Alignment, which turned out to provide fairly accurate tracking). I took a look at Jupiter, which was low in the sky. Unfortunately, the seeing wasn't too great, both due to its low altitude and the high clouds. I was able to photograph two deep sky objects before the clouds took over the sky:
You can read my comments on how well the DG-2 Eyepiece Magnifier performed on my Nikon D70 DSLR Astrophotography page.
I gave up at 2330 MST. By 0000 MST the sky was mostly covered by the high clouds and the temperature 69°F. I turned in for the night. At 0615 MST the temperature was 71°F and the high clouds still covered most of the sky. At 1000 MST the sky was about 50% covered with the temperature up to 94°F. I was unable to do any solar observing with the PST as the Sun was almost always behind some thin clouds. At 1210 MST, temperature 102°F, I called home to check on the weather forecasts. Unfortunately things were not forecast to improve from the current sky conditions so I began to pack up. I left Oracle Observatory about 1400 MST.
Until next time, whenever that is.