Saturday, February 11, 2017

Feb. 10 and 11, 2017

It's a milestone day!  My first true astro post...

Feb. 10 brought a penumbral lunar eclipse at moonrise.  Since my eastern horizon is rather blocked by tall trees, I waited until I could see the moon well enough to see if the Earth's shadow was visible. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any chance in lunar brightness from the time I began watching and the time the eclipse was predicted to end, which was around 6:45 pm.  But in my defense, I have old eyes and the moon was very bright.

Several hours later, I grabbed the binoculars and went outside to look for Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková.  I had a good idea of where the comet would reside in Hercules and went to the south side of a storage shed on the property where I live.  I tucked myself into the slim shadow of the building and scanned the area below the keystone.  I didn't see 45P, nor did I see anything which looked greenish to my eye.

Once again, the bright moon interfered with what I wanted to do.

I did briefly consider bringing out the camera and tripod, but it would have been difficult to set the tripod in a spot I could frame the image based on several factors...the moonlight, the snow still on the ground and the proximity of the building to about the only place I could setup.

Snow depth is falling finally, and should open my regular observing area soon.  I don't have great sky views here, but I do have a north-northwest to east view of the night sky, and a sliver of a southern sky.  But I do have a nice view above me.

Not sure when my next update will occur, but I do want to give the ETX-125 a maiden voyage.  I spent a few hours this afternoon mating my Lenovo laptop with both the Meade scopes.  I had to order another USB-to-Serial adapter and it arrived in today's mail.  After loading the drivers for the adapter, I made all the connections and was able to control the scopes from the computer on most of the astro programs I have on the computer.  I didn't test the setup on all of them, as I will only be using the Meade Autostar Suite program and C2A to control the scopes.

Well, that is all for today.  Clear skies and no moon, y'all!

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