Monday, November 24, 2003

Jupiter shadow transit, meteors and more

We witnessed a mind-boggling shadow transit on Jupiter Saturday night. As the moon was approaching the preceeding limb, it sat just behind its own shadow. The shadow, inky black, was a wonderful contrast with the little moon's disk. Still, the disk of the moon was so well defined, a dark limb was obvious on it, a rather reddish color. The moon looked like a globe, instead of just white spot. Never saw that amount of detail before. The GRS was also obvious, and significantly redder than last year.

As for LSA itself, Saturday was the better of the two, but still some dewing (blow driers were the music of the night), although my scope didn't get much dew at all. I was in Cass, Perseus and Lynx for most of the nights. One surprise object found by Steve S and Jim T, where I was at first very skeptical, was IC443 in Gemini. After aquiring it in Steve's 12.5" NGT, I put my 18" (with OIII) on it, and sure enough, this previously elusive supernova remnant was visible, at least one thick streamer.

A few meteors was worth noting as well, one already mentioned on list. At a sharp decending angle in the west a very bright shooter fell to the horizon, illuminating the entire landscape around us. We thought it was an ordinance from Fort Hunter Liggett for a moment. One on the spot mag estimate was -8. Late at night I was facing east talking with other observers and a meteor began literally screaming across the easter horizon, no more than 20 degrees up. It had a bright head and trail that reminded me of Comet Hyakutake.... very very long and bright tail. Really, really awesome. Afterwards, I estimated it travelled about 90 degrees across the horizon with a good 30 degree trail.

Plenty of other neat stuff to report, but that will have to wait for another night.

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