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Posts Made By: Dave Mitsky

May 19, 2003 12:34 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

NEAF 2003 Part II

Posted By Dave Mitsky

The talks on videoimaging and this year's apparition of Mars by Ron Dantowitz and Michael Bakich respectively were both quite good.

The day went very quickly as always and as usual I saw many familiar faces including Sue and Alan French, Frank Bov, John O'Hara, Dave Barrett, Lloyd Adam, Gary Honis, Tom Dietz, John Nusbaum, John Vogt, and numerous fellow DVAA members. At one point I joined John Dobson's party at a table near the concession stand to have a cup of coffee. Upon seeing a 2001 Grand Canyon Star Party button on his shirt I remarked to John that I had been there too. It had been amusing to watch John play with a 12.5" Mag 1 Instruments Portaball a bit earlier.

I had views through the 40 and 60mm Coronado H-alpha rigs soon after the skies cleared yesterday and just prior to leaving through two binoviewer equipped refractors: the SolarMax 90/T-Max and Barlow Bob's TV-102i. (Unfortunately, I missed the 152mm f/9 Astro-Physics apochromat with a 0.2 angstrom Solar Spectrum H-alpha filter.) There were two prominences that appeared to be detached and an interesting loop prominence that was triangularly shaped. A long filmament was also present.

Before departing Tony and I went through the motorized NASA "public relations" display in the parking lot.

Dave Mitsky

May 23, 2003 01:20 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Io Shadow Transit from the Grundy Observatory

Posted By Dave Mitsky

I had the opportunity to watch Io's shadow transit periodically through an 11" refractor at Franklin & Marshall's Grundy Observatory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on May 19th. The other folks present for the public observing session and I also saw Io after it had finished its transit and cleared Jupiter's disk. Later, the telescope operator showed me how to move the refractor and gave me permission to train it on Gamma Leonis.

Using the observatory's other instrument, a 16" classical Cassegrain, we had views of Saturn, Izar, M49, M104, NGC 3242, M65, M66, M81, and M82. The mount was a GOTO with manual imput of right ascension and declination via analog dials. The reflector slewed to objects with surprising speed and accuracy.

The telescope operator was uncertain of the f/ratio (I'm guessing that it was about f/16) or the make of the refractor (perhaps it was a Brashear) but it was certainly great to do some observing with yet another large classic achromat.

Dave Mitsky

May 29, 2003 09:53 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

AR 10365

Posted By Dave Mitsky

I observed the mammoth sunspot AR 10365 late Wednesday afternoon and again early Thursday afternoon using the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg's C8 at 78x and my C4.5 at 53 and 72x respectively. This is certainly a very large sunspot and is easily visible without magnification. Three smaller spots were also noted.

Dave Mitsky


June 3, 2003 08:21 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Pluto, 2003/6/2 UT

Posted By Dave Mitsky

One of the many celestial objects that my friend Tony Donnangelo and I observed from a dark site in the Tuscarora State Forest on Sunday night was the planet/Kuiper Belt object Pluto. Pluto was not terribly difficult to see through Tony's 14.5" Starmaster once it had been positively identified using two different finder charts. It was but a dim speck to the west of a diamond-shaped pattern of four faint field stars. This was my first view of Pluto this year. Other shallow-sky objects observed included a young crescent moon, Jupiter (along with Europa's shadow transit), asteroid 4 Vesta, and Mars.

Dave Mitsky

June 9, 2003 06:51 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

The Mt.Blanc/Alpine Valley Lunar Sunrise Ray

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Last Friday night I was fortunate enough to have five minutes of partially clear skies to observe the Mt.Blanc/Alpine Valley lunar sunrise light ray (see http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/alpvalley.htm for further information) from my residence before the clouds that have been almost omnipresent this spring returned. I had been trying out my new 3-6mm Nagler zoom eyepiece on Jupiter and the moon with my 80mm f/5 Orion ShortTube achromatic refractor and 114mm f/7.9 Celestron C4.5 Newtonian off and on earlier that evening between sessions with the Virtual Lunar Atlas.

At approximately 11:05 p.m. EDT (3:05 UT 2003/6/7) I detected the ray. It appeared as a very thin and somewhat dim shaft of light just east of the terminator and southeast of Vallis Alpes (the Alpine Valley). I used 112x (8mm Tele Vue Radian) and 150x (Tele Vue Nagler zoom at 6m) to view the ray. Within five minutes the moon was awash with haze from the approaching cloud bank that soon brought an end to my casual lunar observing session.

Dave Mitsky
Harrisburg, PA

June 18, 2003 06:17 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

A Volcanic Lunar Crater?

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Greetings,

Does anyone know of a lunar crater, other than a dome, that is undisputedly volcanic in origin?

Dave Mitsky

June 30, 2003 11:03 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Mars at the LHSC

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Last week I traveled to West Virginia to attend the Laurel Highlands Star Cruise. I don't have time to write a lengthy report at the moment but I will mention that some friends and I observed Mars on several mornings through two 14.5" Starmaster Sky Tracker Dobs equipped with Zambuto mirrors. The use of an apodizing screen, Wratten #21 filters, and magnifications as high as 520x produced some stunning views.

Dave Mitsky

June 30, 2003 11:28 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Mars from the Laurel Highlands Star Cruise

Posted By Dave Mitsky

Last week I traveled to the mountains of West Virginia to attend the Laurel Highlands Star Cruise (see http://www.lhstarcruise.org/ for further information). I don't have time to write a lengthy report at the moment but I will mention that some friends and I observed Mars on several mornings through two 14.5" Starmaster Sky Tracker Dobs equipped with Zambuto mirrors. The use of an apodizing screen, Wratten #21 filters, and magnifications as high as 520x produced some stunning views. The SPC, Syrtis Major, and the gibbous nature of the planet were unmistakable.

Dave Mitsky

July 8, 2003 12:05 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Comet 65P/Gunn

Posted By Dave Mitsky

I had the opportunity to observe the periodic comet 65P/Gunn on a couple of occasions last month at the Laurel Highlands Star Cruise. At the time (late June) it was situated between the globular clusters M54 and M70 in Sagittarius. The comet was a rather difficult target through my friend Tony Donnangelo's 14.5" Starmaster and had the smallest coma that I've ever seen.

Dave Mitsky

July 12, 2003 08:09 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Martian Cloud Lecture

Posted By Dave Mitsky

I had the opportunity to hear Dr. David Klassen, who is in charge of the International MarsWatch project (see http://elvis.rowan.edu/marswatch/ ), speak about observing Martian ice clouds (all Martian clouds are composed of ice, BTW, and as such are somewhat similar to terrestrial high cirrus clouds) in the near IR from Mauna Kea last night (2003/7/11) at the monthly meeting of the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers (browse http://www.dvaa.org for more on this fine astronomy club). It was a very timely and well-presented lecture.

During a question and answer session following his talk Dr. Klassen stated that the so-called melt band currently visible in the SPC is simply the Martian surface being revealed as the CO2 sublimates.

I also learned that the Rowan University web master likes to include the names of dead rock n' roll stars in his URLs.

Dave Mitsky