[AZ-Observing] Sentinel was WET!!

  • From: "William R Wood" <w.wood@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 05:12:17 -0700


You may be the fortunate one observing from the comfort of home :)

I had a fine time from about 4pm when I arrived at Sentinel Fri afternoon
until about 9pm when the humidity soared over 80% and quickly rose to 90%+
at which point my humidity meter's upper range limit was reached (it reads
from 20-90%).  All of my plastic stuff was soaked and dripping with dew by
9:00pm and the metal parts of the telescope started to drip around 9:30 so I
covered the scope and decided to take a nap for an hour or two until Saturn
and Orion and some other stuff I wanted to see were up higher.  For some
strange reason I hoped that the dew would abate by then.  Definitely did not

I like to sleep in the open back of my pickup but that turned out to be a
mistake too in 90%+ humidity.  I immediately noted that my sleeping bag was
getting wet so I put a big tarp over the back of the truck so I was under a
tent of sorts.  Left a breathing hole over my head so I could see the stars.
Seemed cool until I dozed off and woke up about 11:30.  All of my stuff was
totally soaked by then, plastic and metal parts were dripping water.  Big
puddles of water were on my observing seat, EP case, telescope cover, etc
and the tarp over me had large puddles floating on it.  Those puddles
spilled right onto my sleeping bag when I tried to get out of the truck.  Of
course the sleeping bag was already soaked from the dew dripping off the
underside of the tarp.  I was able to wring water out of my pillow it was so

After inspecting the scene, I was not inclined to expose my precious Mewlon
to that dew so I went back to sleep (sort of since I was sloshing around in
a wet bag) and departed in the morning.  Most of the other folks apparently
intended to stay for Sat night but I chickened out.  I hope the dew did not
return for their sake.

I did not count but I guess there were about 10 vehicles in attendance.  A
couple of other folks left before me.  I was talking to Dick Harshaw in the
morning and he said that the seeing and transparency became near perfect
around midnight on Fri which really ticks me off since I did not get to see
that via the telescope.  Seeing was getting better and better as I observed
during the evening and I was getting solid Airy discs on dim tight doubles
by 9:30pm.  High humidity improves seeing according to folks I have talked
to who live in Houston and other high humidity spots.

I was amazed by the Phoenix light dome from Sentinel.  I had driven about
140 miles south and west from home and Phx still loomed large.  I don't
remember the dome being so big compared to my last visit to Sentinel over a
year ago.

Anyway I had fun while it lasted and enjoyed talking with the other folks.
Next time however I will take closer note of the humidity forecast :)


Bill Wood
Fountain Hills, AZ

> As I said, it wasn't Sentinel, But it was better than doing
> nothing. Hope
> those out at Sentinel had a good time, I await their reports.
> Clear Skies
> Rick Tejera
> Editor SACnews
> Saguaro  Astronomy Club
> Phoenix,  Arizona
> SaguaroAstro@xxxxxxx
> www.saguaroastro.org

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