Monday, March 22, 2010

A typical Seattle observing night.

Last Friday, we had some really nice weather just on the verge of the first day of spring.  The Clear Sky Chart was showing dark blue across the top with some clear skies, and nearly perfect seeing.  I find that web page is about 75% accurate - which is very good for this area! 
It ended up that we did have clear skies, a little hazy, and seeing wasn't as good as predicted, pretty bouncy images.  It was one of those times that when you focus on  a star, the best you can get is a fuzzy disk rather than sharp point.  So it ended up being a wide-field night instead.  I did mange a fairly good shot of the M81/82 group just off the dipper's scoop before high clouds rolled back in.
The photo above shows the scope still pointed at the galaxies, just before I gave up.  I could say that was an Aurora Borealis, but it was just light polluted clouds.  (Click the image for a larger view).
The other photo is the result of 9 exposures for a total of just under an hour of exposure time.  Click the image to see more details of the photo.


Anonymous said...
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Dave said...

Friday did turn out to be an excellent night to watch the International Space Station from my Redmond, Washington neighborhood. It was the first time I used the NASA App's new visible pass feature, and it was spot on with the location and timing.

Tom said...

Yep. I did see that ISS pass also and tried to get some images of it, but I haven't had very good luck yet with my new webcam and the ISS. It was overexposed in some frames, and blurry in others. I did play with some scope guiding software also that will track the ISS and other satellites, but didn't track anything. I'm blaming some screwed up setting for daylight savings that is still eluding me!
I like to use for finding flying junk to watch fly over. :-)