[AZ-Observing] Re: Menacing Presence at All-Arizona Star Party

  • From: Russell Chmela~ <rchmela@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 09:11:09 -0700

  The menacing presence at the All-AZ-SP was the gnat cloud, and that 
ended at dusk. First impression, glad I went. The road was a great deal
better than the last time I went (97' for the Messier Marathon held 
there, no Hale-Bopp this time!), not much dust, very smooth. The site
itself was even smoother, its been a long time since I have been able
to walk about from scope to scope in the dark and only place watchfulness
for what observers have left on the ground. The whole site around where
I was set up was as flat as my living room. As Tom had put late last week
the darkness should be somewhat better than Vekol, not as good as Sentinel,
and was right on for comparisons. The seeing was jumpy to start but slowly 
settled over the evening. Lots more light on the horizon from Tucson
than I remember from last time and now a separate glow from what looks like 
Picacho peak area. I tend to observe from due south, up to the zenith
and down to the west horizon and park to favor that, so the glow was no
biggie. People seemed pretty good about lights for those leaving early, but
I was in the extreme back 40 and didn't see too many go. Stayed the night
and found the weather comfortable all through but gloves ,hat and a sweater
after 8 pm. definitely. Great transparency conditions. 
  Highlight object of the evening, a comet that is coming in to our 
view called C/2000 WM-1 Linear, yet another Linear- don't confuse with 
the one earlier this year. Found it in the upper left area of Auriga near
Capella with the S and T website coordinates, just a bit off, but at 10th
magnitude, no problem to find it. The Comet itself looked a bit like 
that discovery picture of the smashed comet Shoemaker Levy-9. The view
was a flattened coma and a set of fainter extensions to this pointing
along the same line. One end was fan like and the other came to a point
and seemed to be the right orientation for a anti-tail. There was also
a faint spray of light leaving at right angle to all of the rest. All
in all a lot of detail for a 10th magnitude comet. Should be good if it
holds to predictions and reaches sixth magnitude later this year.
  Interleaved a tour of all the outer planets, starting with Mars, with
a study of deep sky objects that are close to famous objects, such as
the 6207 Galaxy near M13, the ic Galaxy next to m57 and the planetary in
M15 and so on. Plenty of meteors and a zodiacal light show cut short 
by the remaining moon.
  My thanks to the property owners for letting us use the site for the
excellent weekend.

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