The best weekend of the season so far. It was warm both nights, but more so Saturday night. No thermals needed. Did still need mittens. My hands get cold easy. Mostly clear viewing. There was some muck in the atmosphere, which was noticeable when viewing Mars and Saturn.
It doesn’t get fully dark here until almost 11 p.m. So, that made for some late nights. The Milky Way came out in all its glittery glory Saturday night. Just awesome, jaw-dropping awesome. I’ve been trying to photograph it, but haven’t figured out the right settings on the camera yet. Maybe by the end of the season … we’ll see. I’ll keep trying.
Viewed through the 24″ Cassegrain under the dome: Saturn, Mercury, Sombrero galaxy.
Viewed outside through the dobsonians: Mars, Saturn, Antares, Albireo, Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula, Veil Nebula, Owl Star Cluster, Double open cluster, M11, M13, Whirlpool Galaxy, Swan (Horsehead) Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, M22, M4, M24, other open clusters and globulars and nebulae in Sagittarius. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but it was nice to see so many old summer friends.
My best Saturn shot of the weekend:
My best Mars shot. Mars is far away, so can’t discern any features on it this summer.
Twinkle, Twinkle Antares – Red giant Antares in Scorpius twinkling
Solar report: Space Weather News for June 17, 2012
As predicted, a double CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on June 16th. The impact strongly compressed Earth’s magnetosphere, exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma and sparking more than 24 hours of geomagnetic storms. (The storms are still in progress as this alert is being written during the middle hours of June 17th.) In the United States, Northern Lights have descended as far south as Wisconsin, Washington, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Southern hemisphere observers are also reporting colorful aurora australis.
How was your weekend?