Last night, July 26th, was one of the best transparency nights of the year. Chris, Evan, Rob, Mike F. and I trekked down to DHO for the evening. If I remember correctly, Mike resumed yesterday’s mission to observe the Milky Way, Rob observed Messier objects in the SE sky with his Dob. Evan and Chris imaged the Western Veil, while I slewed around looking for juicy Messier targets. The Milky Way’s dust lanes, Galaxies and nebulae observations and images were much crisper than usual. The Andromeda galaxy and the Comet C/2017 K2 were especially nice tonight. (See below). The cooler temps and lower humidity were a welcome change from the hot, sticky nights of late. A light jacket made the evening more tolerable and foreshadowed a waning summer.
An hour after sunset, heavy dew soaked the grass, but didn’t rise to periscope depth (telescope level) all night. The Summer Triangle was directly overhead, mocking the gradually shortening days. After a few hours of great observing and imaging, a surprisingly quick cloud layer muddied the waters, but it disappeared as quickly as it came, leaving even better conditions than before. Imaging promptly resumed as if to say “Clouds? What clouds?”. An hour later, just when everything was humming along smoothly, another murky cloud layer overlaid the grounds. Panic swept through the hull of the chartroom and Double-Stuff Vitamin O consumption increased at a frightening pace. Within minutes, the ship’s clazon sounded “ahOOga, ahOOga”. This time, as feared, the call came to abandon ship. All engines stopped.and Imaging ground to a screeching halt! Thankfully, we all made it out safely. with only slight dimming to our enthusiasm, buoyed by the good memories (data saved on thumb drives) of earlier times.
Rob and Mike had to leave around 11 o’clock. Chris, Evan and I packed up around 1, but as I was getting in the car to leave, the skies once again became inky black, and the Milky Way sparkled cleanly across the entire sky. Although tempted, I didn’t take the bait to set up again, but simply enjoyed the view while leaning against my car, gazing upward at the wondrous expanse…not a sound to be heard., but then again, I’m deef:-)