March 31, 2013 #136 - McDonald Observatory, Ft. Davis, TX

This evening we sat on a mountain top at Ft. Davis to watch the sunset. McDonald Observatory was visible on Mnt. Fowlkes and Mnt. Locke, about 20 miles west of us. I set up my 20X80 binoculars on a tripod and watched the domes. Shortly after sunset the staff  began opening the domes to prepare for a night of research. I watched as the process progressed with great interest as this was the first time I have seen them in action.

I took several digital shots through my Canon T1i with a 300mm lens of the HET Dome and the 107 inch Dome. Considering the distance I was pleased with the results. I am attaching four for you, to show what I observed. Hope you enjoy them.

55mm shot of the Observatory distance 20 mi.

 300mm shot of Dome closed on Mnt. Fowlkes distance 20 mi. at 6659 ft.

  300mm shot of Dome open on Mnt. Fowlkes

300mm shot of Dome open on Mnt.Locke at 6792 ft.

Clear Sky - Rich


March 14, 2013 #135 - C/2011 L4 Pan-Starrs in 20X80 Binoculars

Went back to my lonely hill top observation area for some more comet watching last night. Set up my tripod and binoculars and just set back and watched till comet set. No camera to fuss over this time. Just a relaxing time at the eyepieces. Sky conditions here in the hill country of Texas have been excellent if you are following the western sky, but looking east to about 20% above the horizon you have the glow of the Austin - San Antonio light pollution.

I have been surprised that I have been unable to see it with eyes only, except for brief flashes with averted vision. The moon was above the comet tonight and the view crisp in the 20X80's. Many pinpoint stars in the field of view.

I worked up an impression of the view with a paint program on my laptop for tonight's BLOG.

Clear Sky - Rich


March 13, 2013 #134 - Comet Pan-Starrs

Tonight was my 4th night of observation of Comet Pan-Starr from the Hill Country of Texas near Lost Maples State Park. Tonight I was able to take some color digital shots. These were shot with a Canon T1i with a 75 mm lens. The comet is still hard to pick up with the naked eye and I'm sure the moon will make observation harder over the next couple of weeks.

Clear Sky - Rich


March 12, 2013 #133 - Comet Pan-Starrs

I have been watching Comet Pan-Starr for the last three nights from the Hill Country of Texas near Lost Maples State Park. Tonight I was able to snag a decent digital shot in B/W. This was shot with a Canon T1i with a 75-300 mm lens at ASA400/8 sec/F5. Have been observing with my Oberwerks 20x80 D3 Binoculars and Apex 127 Maksutov. The comet is hard to pick up with the naked eye but the thin crescent moon was a good guide tonight.

Over the last two nights the Gegenschein has been very prominent. It stretches from horizon to the  Seven Sisters and is brighter than the Milky Way. Stars are faded within it's cone very noticeably.

Clear Sky - Rich