Friday, January 19, 2007

did i have a chance?

Session name: 20070119.1650

This goal of this session was to observe the 18 hour 10+ minute waxing crescent moon. Did I have a chance? Not the slightest - a deck of clouds covered the horizon from as far north as I could see past west, all the way down into the south. From what I could tell Sun set further north of Statue of Liberty, but it was cloaked beneath that thick, dark quilt.

The Sun set 4:57 EST. The sky clear above 20°. My hopes that this would drop down to 2° were unrealistic. With fist extended at arm's length I looked for Mercury's flame. Extending pinky and thumb, keeping my hand twisted on 10:30-4:30 line I searched for Venus. With handheld bins I scanned above the horizon looking for each. The cloud deck climbed too high in the sky. Venus, at this time, was to be a bit better than 15° in altitude.

Civil twilight began at 5:27 EST. As I swept the 7.5° binocular field of view along the horizon and ogled Lady Liberty, a brilliant light appeared higher in the sky. Venus at 11° was ablaze and stayed in the clear for about 2 minutes. I looked higher in the sky where the clearing continued. Hyades and Pleiades were visible naked eye, contrasted on a darkened turquoise velvet. While struggling with the gusty wind trying to turn the pages, hurried notes were scratched in the logbook. I looked back up to take a count of the how many Pleiades I could count but the show was over. It was only moments.

Off to moonwatch to file a report and tally my scorecard at 0-1.

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