Thanks to Facebook friends I was alerted to the fact that there is a bright comet (as far as comets go) Comet 46P/Wirtanen in the night sky right now and for the next couple of nights. I found it pretty quickly with my Binoculars so I brought my Telescope up to try to catch a photo.
As a matter of fact…given the season…spectacular shot. (Makes you wonder.)
My schedule and the sky haven’t seen a lot of cooperation. Also missed the best part of the Geminids because of clouds/rain.
But thanks for the reminder. I need to go up to the dome and do some minor maintenance for winter observing.
I wanted to go out and photograph Thursday but couldn’t get the energy up. Had the energy friday, but the sky didn’t cooperate. Such is life. Did see 6 within a period of 2-3 minutes in a small part of the southwestern sky at about 1am MST Thursday night/Friday morning.
Haven’t seen it yet, but am hoping to try tonight/tomorrow.
Le sigh… haven’t seen anything but overcast for days.
Hopefully the atmosphere will cooperate.
Cool color to it, but just a fuzz ball compared to the best of my life - Hale Bopp, that hung for weeks with both tails on display.
I got a beautiful pic of that, I thought I had it in a frame somewhere.
We were already scheduled to ski out west so I lugged my “real” camera and tripod and such out with me, and it was well worth the effort. Remember standing out on the deck of the condo in the middle of the night.
Actually met Hale, I believe it was, a while later when he visited Atlanta to give a presentation at a local planetarium. For some reason I remember him signing something as well, but so long ago, no idea what it was…
Yeah, both Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake we’re phenomenal and within a year of each other. Got great pictures of both but lost the negatives. Just one print. It’s been more than 20 years since comets that bright and prominent have appeared.
Still, it’s fun to find the smaller objects in a sea of stars.
Agreed. I have the scope outside acclimating… out of curiosity what type of maintenance do you do? The dome, scope or both?
Just stuff I’ve been putting off. Need to clean the outside of the dome a couple times a year to keep the moss from growing, remove any bird droppings, bees nests, etc. I never use the dome during the hazy summer months so a bucket of lady bugs will need to be vacuumed off the floor and guide rails. Probably have a mouse nest in a crevice somewhere. Need to put some petroleum jelly on the guide rail so the dome rotates freely. The scope needs a good optics cleaning and a 10 year battery deep inside the electronics is due for changing. Grease the worm gears on the scope. Check the condition of the 12V marine battery and solar panel. Etc.
The dome and scope have been on the hill in the weather for 25 years. Maintenance I only do every other year. Hoping there is no mold on the optics because mold will etch the coatings. It was a very wet summer. My grandson is old enough now he is asking to check it out. He has never looked through it and will be coming up this weekend. Usually when I go observing I just use one of my more portable scopes.
How cool! what an opportunity to turn him onto … everything. Feed him the cool physics!
I remember when my wife first looked through a scope and saw Saturn & could make out the rings. It was a 16" Dobson and she was in her 40s. She was like a kid - actually seeing in the sky what she’d seen in pictures all her life was a profound experience for her as it all became real vs just academic knowledge.
I’m a big fan of Dobsonian mount scopes. It’s a great build-it-yourself project with your kids (or grandkids). I was pretty depressed when John died but watch his video at least once a year to remind me to be a kid sometimes. (Okay, my wife would say a lot of times )
Didn’t really know John Dobson but got into a couple really deep conversations with him. He thought on a different plane than I. He was more of a philosopher. His brain went places my logic couldn’t follow.
My go to scope is a small 10" truss dob. Large at the time it was built but small by today’s standard.
He must have driven the rest of the brothers in the monastery nuts.
His thoughts on the Big Bang and cosmology really resonated with me though. They seem to resolve many contradictions that I struggle with reconciling otherwise. But it’s not something material to my daily life so I tend to contemplate it only rarely.
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