Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Young crescent moon attempt - a turkey

Walking into Battery Park there was a turkey in the lawn. A turkey!! (an omen)

Session Name: 20060725.1900
Battery Park, NYC (Google Map of where I was)
Site Classification: Urban
Date/time: 25 July 2006, 7:00PM ~ 9:30PM
Sunset: 8:18PM
Moonset: 9:00PM
Handheld Binos: Fujinon 7x50, fov 7.5°
Tripod-mounted Binos: Takahashi 22x60, fov - 2.1°
Weather History
Transparency/Seeing (1 worst - 5 best): 2/2
NELM: --
Conditions: The horizon was covered with a deck of low, thick clouds. The Sun set into it. Altitudes greater than 4
° presented a whitish background. Small thin clearing around 12° ~ 15° altitude.
Observing party: me

This photo shows the sky at sunset. One third in from the right along the horizon, two low buildings can be seen across the Hudson River. To the left of that is a small, mostly obscured reddish disk. That's the Sun. I watched it set into the clouds! Charlie and Kin each a saw similar event from different locations. None of us watched it together.

Here are the Takahashi binoculars set up with Lady Liberty in the background. (Liberty Cam here). Just after set up I took some peeks at the statue, passing boats & ferries, and the Staten Island shoreline. But this picture shows the bins ready for buisness with a Thousand Oaks solar filter attached to the right tube. I find great utility with rubber bands. Here the filter is slipped on to the tube with some filler in the rim to gain a more snug, centered fit and then rubber bands act as an insurance policy. Although, a filter wasn't necessary once the Sun sunk below 12° because the clouds were enough of a filter.

Like here, you can see how effective the sky was acting as a filter. Bright smudge.

The Baader solar filter hangs in the white shopping bag from the tripod. I used it for a brief period earlier but the Sun was not strong enough to observe through the filter

Behind me to my right the East Coast Memorial stands, at the rear is a lrage statue of an eagle that presides over eight granite slabs inscribed with the names of U.S. servicemen who died in the western Atlantic during World War II.

This young crescent Moon opportunity had all the elements for success. Elongation at sunset was 9°17' and increased as sunset deeper beneath our horizon. The altitude of the Moon at this time was 6°18'. I predicted a sighting window between 8:35PM ~ 8:45PM, an altitude ranging from 3°26' to 1°45', the Sun was -5°14' at the later time.
Also, just had the experience of seeing 0.8% illuminated crescent, so I was expecting the same impression but flipped horizontally. Actually I was expecting the crescent to be rotated slightly counterclockwise that the horns extend from 2:00 ~ 7:00~ish. (Yesterday's last crescent reached from 9:00 to 4:00.)

Trouble was that the weather didn't agree. It was clear in some parts but not in the area of interest. The photos show that well.

Charlie and I had been chatting during the day. We were to meet at the Seaman's Memorial but I am not familiar with lower Manhattan nor all the parks and landmarks around there. He sent me a google map which I ended up here. No problem, I set up any way flanked by fishermen to either side of me. The man to my right even cuaght a good size fish, had to be about a foot long as it flopped on the pavement until it could flop no more. I can't see eating any fish coming out of that river.

This promenade is pretty busy with people walking, relaxing on the benches, and sightseeing out across the river. Of all the people only 3 different couples actually stopped by. The most interesting was a family of three - sort of an attractive family, in their own way. Like most, curious Dad asked apologetically, "What the heck are you doing?" And I told him I was hunting for the crescent moon. I explained to all of them with a demonstration of my pencil, as the Moon, moving past and the stationary bins, as the Sun, describing the phases we see and when New Moon occurs. Mom, an attractive woman apparently not opposed to piercings, listened with no enthusiastic interest. She said, "And........So.........". A pause and I shrugged, "Okay."

"Oh, I get it. People need things to escape reality. He likes his motorcycles, I like to write, and she likes to to sing in the shower." I thought can't get any more real than our star standing naked eye before us as a day-glo orangy-red disc. The moon is somewhere around there. I handed the daughter, who had braces and as many pierces as her mom, the Baader film to have a look at the Sun. She couldn't see anything without putting her nose to the film. Oooooh, you're not supposed to do that, I wanted to say but smiled.

We chatted a bit more then they thanked me, wished me luck, and moved on. They were kind of cute.

Kin came by on his bike after the event was over. I set the bins on Jupiter to have a look at the planet and the arrangement of his moons: Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io. After some time the little fisherman to my left walked up to the tripod and tried to look in. Even on tippy toes the top of his head didn't reach the eyepieces. He spoke no English but chuckled a lot. I lowered the bins to his height and he had a look. He was nodding and chuckling so I guess he enjoyed it. I was about to show him a picture in the Palm but he contuinued to nod and chuckle as he was walked over the fishermen on my right.

So what's next? We'll see. I have been trying to plan some time under dark sky not terribly far from NYC. But with this fickle weather it is hard to plan for in advance. Since this is New Moon time, dark skies are here, even if they are behind the haze and clouds.