Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mars hand sketch at ULO

Boy oh boy, the fog and mist are really bad tonight. It’s still cold in London; about 1C tonight. I got off work a little early and headed up to the University of London observatory in Mill Hill. It was still clear when I got there so I got to use the 8" Fry Telescope. It's a 19th century refractor and amazing to use. It has a clock drive, lots of brass and great optics. I got to look at Mars using a 40" Plossl and a 2x Barlow. Seeing was really nasty due to the moisture in the air though in moments of steadiness I managed to glance at surface features on Mars and make my first ever hand sketch. It was a little rough and the hand writing was shaky because of the cold but I did the best I could. I do believe I sketched Sertis Major. I hope you all like this sketch. Click on it for a larger version.

After Mars I observed Gamma Andromedae. Gamma Andromedae, Almach, is one of the finest binary systems in the heavens, best seen in small telescopes or even binoculars: a triple system in which its brightest components (visual magnitudes 2.3 and 5.5) form a lovely colour contrast of yellow and blue.

The blue companion also has its own orbiting companion, which orbits the blue primary every 61.1 years. This companion is also blue (visual magnitude 6.3). The Fry was unable to resolve these two components but the brightest components were vivid and easily resolved. Seeing added significant scintillation of light but it was good enough given the conditions tonight.


At Fri Nov 25, 10:06:00 am UTC, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb pics! Quite an improvement from just two months ago! Glad you are braving the biting winds and cold to pursue your observing and photography. I promise clear, dark skies beyond your wildest imagination, not so cold nights and gazillions of stars (double and otherwise) and constellations waiting to be photographed in the remote wilds of North Bengal! If that isnt enticement enough, there are wild elephants and rhinos and the occassional leopard sighting!

At Fri Nov 25, 10:08:00 am UTC, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and a field station on stilts!! Should make for some splendid photography-astronomical and otherwise!!


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