Re: BBAA Skywatch & the meteor storm

Nick Anderson

I've been meaning to post a report of some kind, so here goes:

I haven't been to terribly too many Skywatches just yet (since I'm typically out of the area), but this one was the busiest by far! I had a great time just conversing with some of the BBAA people that I don't generally see too often. I was quite impressed by the skills of others and had some nice astronomy discussions.

In particular, I see Mark Gelach's grandchildren have started working on the Messier list with their [4.5 or 6 inch?] Orion Dob. That's quite admirable to get hooked at such a young age! Kudos to you Mark for starting them off a hobby that could very well last a lifetime! I'll be interested to see what progress they make in the coming months!

I also see that Leigh Anne has been working on some Messiers as well and she hasn't let the technology of a larger scope keep her from starhopping! That's the best way to truly learn how to navigate the sky. But there's already a variety of objects she can reliably find. She especially seemed to like showcasing M65 and M66, galaxies in Leo.

And just because you don't have a telescope doesn't mean you can't be a productive observer. Kurt was always in line to see whatever was being exhibited, but he's a far cry from the stereotypical "armchair astronomer". Keep up the good work with writing down what you've observed. It's quite the commodity to be able to "relive" your observations years later.

As for me, these were the objects I caught in my XT8 (all planets, galaxies, and globulars): Mars, Saturn, M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy) with NGC 5195, M104 (Sombrero Galaxy), NGC 2903, M3, M106, and M5. Mars (12.4 arcseconds in size) had a surprisingly decent display of its albedo features before twilight had ended. The curved Mare Acidalium in the north, the north polar cap, and Mare Erythraeum in the south weren't too difficult to spot at 192x. Noting the concentrated core of M106, it only reinforces the belief that its supernova should be a real challenge.

I was also hoping to catch Comet C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS), but the heavy clouds covered it up during my attempt around 10:30. Then a half hour later, we all evacuated from the rain and impending thunderstorms.

All-in-all though, a great time!

-Nick Anderson

Astronomy Club of Virginia Tech

---In backbayastro@..., <kent@...> wrote :

Robert Hitt and I agreed it was good seeing so many BBAAer's and guests at the Skywatch last night. Kadoos to Jim Tallman for showing up after an across country flight from CA. The sky was clear most of the night but a sudden threatening storm moved in just prior to 11:00 pm so we all packed up. I hope you all got out quickly because it rained quite hard on our way home.We got home around 11:30 pm. The rain continued so I set my alarm for 2:50 am. Just as predicted the sky was perfectly clear at that hour, so I attached a camera to my tripod and went outside armed with a large blanket and pillow to watch the new meteor storm. What strorm? I looked from 3:00 - 4:00 and didn't see a single meteorf! Looks like Ted and I were correct in our predictions. How about you, Ted? Did the meteors "rain" down in Arizona?It seems the more media blitz astronomical events get the less they fulfill their predicted excitment. But you know what? Black Cat and I still enjoyed laying outside in the wee hours of the morning gazing up, even if we didn't see any falling stars, as Black Cat calls them.Kent Blackwell

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