Archive for March 2004

See our vacation, friends & family get-together pictures

March 31, 2004

Cruises, Orchestra tours, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Holidays, Fall in New England, Bicycling. Here they are.

Being the photographer, I’m not in many of them!

More to come.

Observation Log 3/30/04

March 30, 2004

canon10x30is.jpg3/40/04, 7:30PM-8:30PM. Canon 10×30 Image Stabilizing binoculars An enjoyable time just browsing around. My idea to try using Norton’s Atlas rather than Starry Night Pro didn’t work out. There are far fewer stars in the atlas than are visible through these binoculars. I was frustrated trying to look up interesting things I saw in the sky, and not being able to find them in the book. Plus, the Moon was washing out most all naked-eye viewing near zenith, and my glasses kept fogging up. It was 32°F out.

It is fascinating how many satellites soar overhead. I like finding them by accident. I happened upon five tonight, and in particular two that crossed paths such that I could see them both in my 6 degree field of view for about 10 seconds. Alas, neither Heavens Above nor Starry Night can tell me both of their names. One may have been the Okean 2 rocket body, but I think what I saw was too dim for that. Anyway, it was a treat.

Speaking of treats, purely by chance I spotted the ISS rising out of the WNW. I got the binoculars on it and watched for a few moments, when it went behind a tree. A walked into the clear, and looked again, but it was gone. It turns out it flew into the sunset at 37° altitude. That would have been amazing to see through the binos, with the white fading to a deep red. There will be other chances.

Observation Log 3/28/04

March 28, 2004

ob11x70masked.jpg3/28/04- 9:30PM-10:45PM- OB10x70. Coma Berenices, Leo Minor (naked eye, and for the first time!). Dew was a problem. The 1st quarter moon reduced seeing. The Moon itself was nice. Basically I just wandered the zenith to the southern sky, looking for interesting things. The Oberwerk 11×70 binoculars are too weak for most galaxies, alas.

Arghh. The next morning, I looked at my binoculars. I had accidentally knocked them over on the tripod with all the legs retracted. I thought they were fine, but in daylight today, I see one of the objectives is half peppered with dirt. Time to read up on cleaning techniques and get some supplies. Probably a bulb for squirting air, and perhaps a soft brush. This one will probably require some solution too, once the scratchy stuff is off. I’ve read that just running distilled water over mirrors is good. Lenses, too, so long as care is taken to keep the water away from the edges of the lens, where it can seep inside the instrument.

I think next time I go out to just browse the sky, I’ll take my Norton’s 2000 Star Atlas instead of Starry Night Pro, and see how it goes. It seems like I spent a lot of time futzing with things like limiting magnitudes, labeling options, and having to remove a glove every time I needed to use the trackpad. We’ll see if a book isn’t simpler–there are times when I see star patterns in the sky and want to know what I’m looking at, and give up after 5 minutes’ wrestling with SNP.

2004- 0 miles and not counting yet.

March 26, 2004

Missed it by that much.

Mother Nature surprised the meteorologists today, and we had a beautiful afternoon, dry and just under 70 degrees. Unfortunately, I had several hours of running around, shopping, and other chores to do. By the time I got home at 3:15PM, it would have taken me until 4:00 to get dressed, stretch a bit, and do a quick once-over on a bike that hasn’t been touched since last year. And then I’d be fighting Friday afternoon rush hour traffic for at least an hour.

So, right or wrong, I decided to wait for a better day. What a shame.

Observation Log 3/24/04

March 24, 2004

nx8i.jpg3/24/04- Installed Bob’s Knobs.
Installed Ray’s Brackets.

6pm- Showed Jan all five naked eye planets! 8:45 pm- Celestron NexStar 8i telescope. Collimate. Split Polaris for first time. Tube currents for ~2 hours. Dew. Runaway altitude axis- balance or Declination nut? Better w/ 1.25″ eyepieces, so it’s probably a balance problem.

Jan came back out for amazing views of Saturn, Jupiter w/ 17mm Nagler! Collimation pretty good, need excellent seeing to do better. 10PM-12PM- tried “Tour” button, but GoTo problematic. Had to re-align a lot. Saw Kemble’s Cascade. Must practice balancing the OTA in the field.

StarFinder™ 532nm Green Laser Pointer & Mount from

March 23, 2004

Green Laser Star Pointer
Whether on a scope or just pointing out stars in the sky, this is one sexy piece of equipment.


Orion 2″ Moon filter

March 22, 2004

I guess I asked for this… it looks like I need a new set of 2″ filters for my 2″ eyepieces.

I do enjoy exploring the Moon, so this was a must. I haven’t used it yet, but I got a good deal on it. If there’s anything remarkable about it, good or bad, I’ll report back.