Monday, January 31, 2005

14-Jan-2001: Night 20:40-10:15, Tai Mo Shan

The sky was pretty bad.  When we arrived Tsuen Wan, the sky was covered with cloud and the Jupiter in the zenith was the only available object in the whole sky.  We went on the bus anyway to see if it's better up the hill or not.

When we arrived, the whole sky was covered with cloud.  We decided to stay a while to see whether there are some other good places for observing next time.  It's also nice to breath in some fresh air.

We found another place, but it's not perfect.  First, it's too near the road.  The head light from the cars can ruin our dark vision totally.  Second, we could near nearby towns directly.  Actually, our first target of that night was the Central Plaza and the second one was the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Suddenly, we saw the Sirius.  We pointed there.  Nothing else except the bright white star (not much chromatic abberation with the Ranger, at least not annoying).  Next we found the Jupiter.  No cloud belts but the four satellites were clearly visible.  We tried to find Saturn (which is invisible even with 10x50 binoculars), no luck.

In between the break of the cloud, we looked at M42.  And it was one of the worst sight of this old friend.  We also found the Pleaides later, and it was visible through both the binoculars as well as the Ranger.

We continued to look from the break of the cloud.  Finally, most of the cloud in the zenith went away.  We could see two open clusters in the Auriga clearly, and we could actually detect one more, but could not see it clearly.  I guess we saw M36 and M37 but just detected M38.  M42 and M45 became a fine sight after the area near zenith was cleared.  M45 was always amazing.  Maybe we should try some afocal shots next time. Saturn's ring and Jupiter's cloud belts were clear.  Finally, we found Andromeda beta and gamma (Almach) as well as detected M31 briefly.  The double cluster was barely detectable at best. 
We could not locate M41 this time.

The view was not good but we were satisfied.

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