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Observing Under The Full Moon

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Posted by Bob Sal on June 8, 2001 17:34:31 UTC

Hi All;
I posted this on other sights from an observing session on April 9 2001. The skies may clear here in N.J. this weekend, but we will have a blazing Moon. I go out anyway. There's lots to see. Just thought I'd post this in case anyone was not planning to set up because of the Moon.

I was off Friday. Thursday night looked clear so I took advantage. There was a 94%
moon for your viewing pleasure. That makes it moon and double star night for me. I was out
from 10:00 to 2:00. The sky stayed fairly clear for most of the night. You could see a haze
around the moon which got worst as the night progressed till you could see the clouds going
by. There have been so few clear nights, well I took what I could get. I started with the
moon. I identified most of the features on chart #71 in the Rukl book. There is a big oblong
shaped crater, very conspicuous, didn't write down the name, I used as a base point. There
was a real cool horseshoe shaped partial crater with several smaller craters in side it close
by. I used the moon filter at first but it was still too bright. The red filter is best on the moon. Very easy on the eye. Crater hopping is not so easy. Everything is backwards, upside-down,
left is up, right is down, very hard to tell which way your going. There are just so many
craters it's very hard to tell what's what. I spent about 2 hrs. looking at the moon, then
started looking at double stars. I use the lists they give you in the Cambridge Star Atlas by
Wil Tirion. This a real good book for only $20.00. It gives extensive lists of vairable stars, double stars and all the catagories of deep sky objects with details, magnitude, size etc. I looked at about a dozen or so doubles. Some of the dimmer companions were washed out by
the moon. But some were outstanding. Here are 4 highlights. I used the 8MM Radian
Eyepiece at 381X for all.

39 Boo - mag 6.2/6.9, sep 2.9", both white stars. Can see a clean dark space between them.

Epsilon Boo - mag 2.5/4.9, sep 2.8", Very nice yellow and kind of a brownish or rusty color
star. Due to their brightness these did not split as well. There was a lot more glare which
made it more difficult to see the seperation cleanly. During moments of clarity, like when
watching Jupiter, the space would pop in and out. I should have tried the 14MM or 22MM
eyepiece. Next time!

2 CVN - mag 5.8/8.1, sep 11.4", Excellent item. Beautiful color difference. The 5.8 is a bright
orange color. The 8.1 is a very soft pale blue. Real easy seperation. Everyone should try to
find this next time out. Very striking colors. Their not so bright so the colors are not lost in
the stars own glare. I defocused a few times and the colors are even more distinctive. Loved
this one.

44 Boo - This was the item of the night. A new personal record. mag 5.3/6.2, sep 1.0", Yes,
just 1 second of arc. Amazing! The seperation faded in and out as disribed above. It was
clean. I actually saw black between them for a second here and there. 2 stars were visiable
at all times in that figure 8 you see on close doubles. I must check this one on a clear
moonless night.

I go out on all clear nights. I don't let the full moon stop me. Having to get up for work the
next day, that stops me! During the full moon, crater rays come alive! Even the smallest
craters show some rays in the full moon. Check it out some time, you may be suprised and start
anticipating the full moon. Of course moonless dark skies will always be best, but there's
always something to see if it's clear and I for one hate to miss a clear night. Clear skies.
That's it;
BOB SAL

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