Friday, August 13, 2010


I've never had much luck with meteor showers.  It's always been either cloudy and I wouldn't go out, or else I couldn't see anything (I've seen the occasional meteor on other occasions).  But last night I took my kids out to my dark site outside of town.  It was promising that as we were driving down, my daughter saw one out the car window.  On location, she saw two more, and I saw two (maybe not the same ones).  They were nice and bright.  Unfortunately, my 5-year-old son didn't see any, and he cried about that.  But I showed him the Milky Way and that comforted him.

I had sent out an email to my club that I was going, and when I arrived there was already a couple there, in conversation with a suspicious police officer who was wondering what we were going to be doing, how many people were going to be there, and how long we would be.  He also id'ed them.  As soon as I arrived, he seemed to get much less suspicious, and after a question or two, he drove away.  But he kept his car about 1/3 of a mile away with headlights on, I think to keep an eye on what we were up to.

I took my 8" Coulter along, and we also looked at M8, M13, M20, M22, M57, a bit f the Veil, and the Owl/ET/Airplane Cluster (which I've noticed always pleases people).  I couldn't find M81/82, because it was low in the sky, and in Waco skyglow, and there weren't enough naked-eye stars in the vicinity to quickly star-hop to it (I could have done it slowly field-by-field, but not with the kids and the two other people waiting).  Not having used my 8" Coulter much for deep sky stuff recently, I had forgotten that it is a rather nice scope.  I appreciated the crispness of its F/4.5 optics--better than my F/4 travel scope with its cracked and scratched mirror.  And I am quite happy with the helical Crayford focuser, though I need to put in some star nuts to make sure the bearings don't rotate out of the way.

1 comment:

  1. Man, oh my. Were you on private property? Did you have to show him your telescope before he became less suspicious? Goodness, I know police officers have a job to do, but often times they can simply harass people. Oh well.

    I went down to the planetarium last night and the fellow who was giving the presentation mentioned the Perseid meteor shower. He said it wasn't spectacular, since one could see as many meteors as one can see on any other given night. Usually, I stay up quite late and it's not uncommon for me to see one or two every few minutes or so. Heck, I've even seen some flying by while looking through the telescope.