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Thread: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the clouds

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    Default Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the clouds



    The forecast was generally poor, but as nightfall was approaching the sky didn’t look too bad. However, by the time I was able to get outside, things were starting to become problematic. The typical nighttime fare has been partly to mostly cloudy, with rapidly changing sucker wholes that can morph and evaporate quickly due to high velocity winds. This seemed to be what I was facing yet again this evening.

    So I sat back with binoculars and watched the clouds do their usual evening dance, trying to figure out if I wanted to bring the scope out or not. Not surprisingly, things seemed to open up a bit in attempt to lure me into a sense of false security – which I took hook, line and sinker. So out came the little 4.5 inch f/4.4 newt and accessories. But what to try for since the sky was prone to opening and closing holes quickly? I finally decided to first try for a couple of asterisms in Fornax as it was starting to sink into the southwest – towards my worst light dome. And thus another episode of dancing with the clouds began as I turned in the IDSA to charts 85 and 86.


    Alessi J0345.0-2749 (Fornax, asterism, brightest star=8.2, size=50.0’):

    Using 20x I swept slowly from Alpha Columbae (Phact) to the WNW about 14° to pick up the wide pair of Upsilon1 and Upsilon2 Eridani (mag 4.5 and 3.8 respectively). I next nudged to the northwest about 9.5° to pick up another wide pair, mag 4.6 Tau8 and Tau9 Eri close to the border with northeastern Fornax. Following the line of these two stars almost 2° southwest, I landed on a rectangle of four stars (6th and 7th) tipped southeast to northwest just inside the celestial furnace. Following the eastern side of this figure to the SSW nearly 1.5° and after a long star hop I found the field of my first target.

    Anchored by mag 8.2 HD 23588, all I could make out with 20x was the primary star and one other at the north end of the field at mag 8.7. Given that the sky was fairly bright toward the southwest (the direction of the city center), I moved quickly to 74x, where I pinned down six stars by adding four more to the mix, with two of 9th and a couple of 10th mag embers. They were more or less aligned in a scraggly north-south flow. Trying at 106x added one more, with perhaps one or two others suspected within the field. In keeping with the general theme of the evening, the field was repeatedly crossed by clouds as I was observing.

    I did try for one other asterism, Alessi J0343.5-2324, which lay about 1.5° to the SSW. However, I was unsuccessful at pinning down any of its members using up to 106x and so, I moved on.


    ESO 489-01 (Lepus, open cluster, mag=unk, size=11.0’):

    Since Lepus was high in the sky I decided to give this dim cluster a shot. Turning to chart 84-left in the atlas, I aimed the newt at the double star Gamma Leporis. The wide pair was easily split with 20x as a north-south duo, with the mag 3.6 primary to the south and mag 6.2 secondary over 1.5’ to the north.

    Sweeping southeast for nearly 5° I picked up a very wide pair of stars, mag 6.0 HD 40972 and 5.0 HD 41312, separated by by nearly 1° and pointed SSE. The cluster lay about 36’ SSE of the brightest and most southern of the two stars, HD 41312. I used a pair of 8th mag field stars west of the cluster as pointers to help me identify its location within the larger general field of view. Because of the cloud activity I quickly jumped to 74x and then 106x to try and ferret out some stars. What I found was a triangle of three stars, one of 10th and two of 11th magnitude, the brightest of its dim field, but nothing more.


    At this point I finally called surrender to the clouds and relinquished the sky to their unforgiving onslaught. Just another normal night for this trip! Anyway, thanks for following along and I hope to get another chance soon to take you out with me.
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    It’s extremely hard to have a productive session with clouds constantly trying to ruin it. Great job Alan! Thanks for sharing this report with us. Hopefully you can catch a break from the clouds soon!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Quote Originally Posted by 10538 View Post
    It’s extremely hard to have a productive session with clouds constantly trying to ruin it. Great job Alan! Thanks for sharing this report with us. Hopefully you can catch a break from the clouds soon!
    Thank you Ed, and indeed so. I guess I can chalk it up to being a glutton for punishment!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Clouds a bugaboo once again Alan!

    Still I'm glad you were able to log a couple of objects in the heavens.

    Clear skies and thanks for the report!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Quote Originally Posted by helicon64 View Post
    Clouds a bugaboo once again Alan!

    Still I'm glad you were able to log a couple of objects in the heavens.

    Clear skies and thanks for the report!
    Thanks Michael. Seems the theme of this trip is baby steps for the most part. A little here, a little there.
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    I know the feeling. Starting out with binoculars, being sensible.
    Taking the bait of open spaces , putting up the telescope and being caught between loads of clouds.
    Nevertheless thanks for your nice report!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Despite the clouds, another detailed and instructive report. Many thanks!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Quote Originally Posted by John Baars View Post
    I know the feeling. Starting out with binoculars, being sensible.
    Taking the bait of open spaces , putting up the telescope and being caught between loads of clouds.
    Nevertheless thanks for your nice report!
    Thanks John. You know, another funny thing I've noticed is the method of attack that the clouds use against me as well. Not only the profusion, but the seeming intelligence of it all. I can find an area where they are less and swing my scope over there to hunt for something. Well wouldn't you know, within a short time here they come! Then other areas seem to open up and I move again, and you guessed it, they followed me to that area! I'm beginning to sense a conspiracy! Madness induced by clouds!

    Quote Originally Posted by kanadalainen View Post
    Despite the clouds, another detailed and instructive report. Many thanks!
    Thanks Ian. If nothing else, it tests my patience and grace under fire!
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Good to see you observing the same part of the sky as I was last night Alan! I was also experiencing constantly moving clouds interspersed with clear skies, with some windiness. Not the best seeing conditions.

    o) Alessi J0345.0-2749 - saw this last night, picked up about 6 stars at 58x; might have picked up more with better seeing conditions and if not for the constant interruption of clouds. Even at 58x, I was only seeing the central portion of the cluster because of its size (50'). Worth trying again.

    o) ESO 489-1 - I see the triangle of three stars you mentioned in C2A, but they are listed as being between mag. 11.2 - 11.75 according to the Guide Star Catalogue I'm using. I have doubts about picking this up given my location (both darkness quality and latitude), even with the 5".

    Also was planning on Al J0343.5-2924, but too many clouds moving in by the time I finished with Al J0345.0-2749. On my list, along with HD 12835 (I need to catch this early in the evening).
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    Default Re: Observing Report for 05 February 2019 - another episode of dancing with the cloud

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    Thanks John. You know, another funny thing I've noticed is the method of attack that the clouds use against me as well. Not only the profusion, but the seeming intelligence of it all. I can find an area where they are less and swing my scope over there to hunt for something. Well wouldn't you know, within a short time here they come! Then other areas seem to open up and I move again, and you guessed it, they followed me to that area! I'm beginning to sense a conspiracy! Madness induced by clouds!
    Yes, I recognize that!
    Someone here on the forum called it : "dancing with clouds".
    I haven't tried the following yet: Act as if you are packing your things, cover up the telescope and go in. Within 10 minutes they will disappear, presuming you have finished. That is the moment to return and win another 10 minutes!
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