Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Two star Parties, Two Images

A sad story.

First, the Iowa Star Party. Another year, another hot and humid run of days, even worse that last year. The weather forecasts were so bad (ditto the satellite loops) that I stayed home the first two nights. Thursday night reports were that there were at most two hours of observing. Friday night (the public night) it rained. Saturday it was hot, with the heat index hitting 113. Around the time of the before-dinner talk the dew point reached up to 82. The compensation was that the evening was clear, and I managed to get one image. Because of the extreme humidity my camera's sensor window fogged over at any temperature under 15C, which curtailed using it in a meaningful way. Sunday: l little cooler and drier, but still very warm and humid. The evening started clear (with clouds to the south from a thunderstorm over Missouri) but ended early when a thunderstorm to the northwest attained a high level of electrical activity--its lightning illuminated the sky to such an extent that observing or imaging was nearly impossible.

Out of four possible nights, one decent one.

Now on to the Northern Nights StarFest. Great Facilities. Amazingly enough almost no mosquitoes or flies. As might be expected for a forest setting, generally poor horizons. Wednesday night, clear, but absurdly heavy dew. One image as I fought the fogging sensor window problem. Thursday night: cloudy. Friday night: cloudy, Saturday night: cloudy with rain.

Four possible nights, one decent one.

No more star parties for this year, unless I opt to go to the Heart of America party. As nice as that one is, it's simply too far to go for a maximum of three nights.

In other news, SBIG sent me the ST-8300 sensor window heater and it was waiting for me when I returned from NNSF. It installed easily, and last night it seemed to work, although conditions didn't test it well. With it running, the camera went down to -15C, a good value for any summer night. It may have used a little more power than it used to, perhaps compensating for the heat source.

 I managed to image one of the objects on my list for ISP/NNSF: DG 191:

DG 191 and vdB 158
This was an ill-conceived RGB image. (I should have had the patience to do a multi-night HaRGB image. But it's just for AL, so it doesn't have to be frame-worthy, or even close.)

Another clear night on Friday? Sadly, the moon will be nearly full, so I'll collect Ha. IC 4954 may be the target.

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