Last Night's Viewing


charles jagow
 

Greetings all!

 

I am sorry I can no longer join in on the Skywatch fun at the NWRP.  Many, Many fond memories.

 

However, last night was my first Solo gig at the SJO (Smokey Jack Observatory) here in Westcliffe.  The night started off kind of cloudy with quarter moon peeking through the clouds.

 

The way the SJO works at present is that folks reserve a night of observing, so it is basically having one family (or a couple or three families) having a private observing session.  The SJO is a 16’x16’ roll-off roof observatory with a Paramount ME mount with a Celestron 14” SCT attached and integrated using the SkyX software.

 

Usually, the session involves a computer operator who commands and controls the mount while the “host” selects the night sky objects and adjusts the eyepiece to be viewable by the participants while provideing a step ladder and assistance as necessary for the viewers to look through the telescope.  The host also provides commentary and explanation on what is visible, what it is, and why it is different or similar to the previous object.

 

As I said, last night was my “solo” as host.  I was acting as both host and computer operator, my guide, mentor, watchdog was none other than the President of the Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley group – literally no-pressure!

 

We viewed for two and a half hours straight with seven participants.  We started off looking at the moon, then progressed to Jupiter and Saturn.  Copiously using the laser pointer we were able to show many things including the Milky Way from horizon to horizon (no shadows generated with the moon out though - Jeff).  We next moved to the Swan nebula, followed by the Blue Snowball and Ring Planetary Nebulae.  We then observed several globular clusters including M3, M13, and M22 followed by open clusters the Wild Duck and Double Cluster.  Next came the Andromeda, Whirlpool and Pinwheel galaxies.  I had to show off some variable stars, the Garnet star (SAO33693) and La Superba (SAO44317) which are nice carbon stars.  I finished out the night with Neptune and a request to return visit to Saturn and Jupiter.

 

When we were locking up, my Watchdog Clint’s only suggestion was that I rambled on a bit much at times, imagine that – me talking too much.  He didn’t say it was a bad thing, but to “time” the yaking to periods when the scope was slewing about and while adjusting the eyepiece.  After all, the participants were there to SEE the night sky sights and not to listen to the nearly blind, bald, fat guy ramble on.

 

The manner in which we conduct outreach at the SJO is a departure to what I am used to at SKYWATCH but just enjoyable all the same.  All in all, it was a good night, and NOW I will get my own set of keys to the SJO!

 

And with the 14” SCT on the Paramount ME mount, we don’t care if they use the scope or the counter-weight bar as a handle…   That darn thing is massive – I learned a healthy “respect” for that counter-weight bar last night, my bleeding scalp was not noticed until I arrived home and removed my BBAA cap with a new red splotch on it!

 

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verdemont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory

 


--

v/r

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verde Mont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory

 

 


George Reynolds
 

That's using your head, Chuck!  Emoji

We miss you at our BBAA events.  Glad you're having a good time out there.  Does your club do any other kinds of outreach?

International Observe the Moon Night (IOMN) is coming up one month from now, on Saturday, 16 October.

George

George Reynolds

"Solar System Ambassador" for South Hampton Roads, Virginia
Back Bay Amateur Astronomers (BBAA) 
http://www.backbayastro.org


 


On Monday, September 13, 2021, 10:51:03 AM EDT, charles jagow <chuck@...> wrote:


Greetings all!

 

I am sorry I can no longer join in on the Skywatch fun at the NWRP.  Many, Many fond memories.

 

However, last night was my first Solo gig at the SJO (Smokey Jack Observatory) here in Westcliffe.  The night started off kind of cloudy with quarter moon peeking through the clouds.

 

The way the SJO works at present is that folks reserve a night of observing, so it is basically having one family (or a couple or three families) having a private observing session.  The SJO is a 16’x16’ roll-off roof observatory with a Paramount ME mount with a Celestron 14” SCT attached and integrated using the SkyX software.

 

Usually, the session involves a computer operator who commands and controls the mount while the “host” selects the night sky objects and adjusts the eyepiece to be viewable by the participants while provideing a step ladder and assistance as necessary for the viewers to look through the telescope.  The host also provides commentary and explanation on what is visible, what it is, and why it is different or similar to the previous object.

 

As I said, last night was my “solo” as host.  I was acting as both host and computer operator, my guide, mentor, watchdog was none other than the President of the Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley group – literally no-pressure!

 

We viewed for two and a half hours straight with seven participants.  We started off looking at the moon, then progressed to Jupiter and Saturn.  Copiously using the laser pointer we were able to show many things including the Milky Way from horizon to horizon (no shadows generated with the moon out though - Jeff).  We next moved to the Swan nebula, followed by the Blue Snowball and Ring Planetary Nebulae.  We then observed several globular clusters including M3, M13, and M22 followed by open clusters the Wild Duck and Double Cluster.  Next came the Andromeda, Whirlpool and Pinwheel galaxies.  I had to show off some variable stars, the Garnet star (SAO33693) and La Superba (SAO44317) which are nice carbon stars.  I finished out the night with Neptune and a request to return visit to Saturn and Jupiter.

 

When we were locking up, my Watchdog Clint’s only suggestion was that I rambled on a bit much at times, imagine that – me talking too much.  He didn’t say it was a bad thing, but to “time” the yaking to periods when the scope was slewing about and while adjusting the eyepiece.  After all, the participants were there to SEE the night sky sights and not to listen to the nearly blind, bald, fat guy ramble on.

 

The manner in which we conduct outreach at the SJO is a departure to what I am used to at SKYWATCH but just enjoyable all the same.  All in all, it was a good night, and NOW I will get my own set of keys to the SJO!

 

And with the 14” SCT on the Paramount ME mount, we don’t care if they use the scope or the counter-weight bar as a handle…   That darn thing is massive – I learned a healthy “respect” for that counter-weight bar last night, my bleeding scalp was not noticed until I arrived home and removed my BBAA cap with a new red splotch on it!

 

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verdemont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory

 


--

v/r

v/r

Chuck Jagow

Member – Dark Skies of The Wet Mountain Valley

Member - Back Bay Amateur Astronomers

Member – San Diego Astronomy Association

Member – Colorado Springs Astronomy Association

Future         Verde Mont Observatory

Gone...        Rott'n Paws Observatory