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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Recent News and Observations from Chagrin Falls

It's been busy with good weather and a lot to look at!

Venus has become distinctly crescent, and is approaching Saturn. Sad to see the ringed planet fading fast in the west already, but it is a neat group with Regulus, Castor and Pollux.

Iv'e been able to muster Jupiter, but it is pitifully low in the dumps of the ecliptic. A good show anyway.

The moon is spectacular as always, and it's pitiful how much lunar nomenclature I've forgotten... will have to review crater names or get handier atlas.

The big news of course is observing the International Space Station 3 nights out of 4 this past week! My family and I caught is and the shuttle Atlantis close behind emerging from a cloudy west... ISS was favorably oriented and amazingly bright... rivaling the crescent moon, I thought and much brighter than Venus!

Friday night, I set up at Dairy Isle in Bainbridge which was packed. I simply set my telescope on the lawn for anyone to look and soon had a good crowd awaiting event. Sure enough, ISS emerged climbing high into a perfect sky right to zenith, and we were about 40 people cheering it on. And, for the first time ever, I tracked it down in the scope and saw an amazing sight. I positively saw structure and it seemed like a waffle pattern on the solar panels. The quality of the light was unearthly, anglelic, brilliant. Someone else called out Atlantis, which was closer behind ISS than I thought.

Finally, I set up downtown Chagrin with full video capability Saturday night. We enjoyed the standard sights, then ISS emerged on cue just below Venus. This was a relatively poor apparition, but I did get some very erratic drunken video. The best moments of this video does indeed show some kind of structure, and this is a first after the hundreds of observations of Mir, shuttles, and ISS.

I am deeply indebted to Walter Nissen for his accurate and timely e-mail alerts. He made me look like a genius indeed.

And now for something completely different. Just now, Sunday afternoon, I set up my scope downtown Chagrin to see Venus at 2:30 pm. By 2: 40, it was completely cloudy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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