Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Some, but not a lot of astronomy due to clouds. Observed with a 10" Dob in the yard at the home I was staying at in the hills above Kona. 20 degrees N lat is nice, Southern Cross was up before sunrise, Orion way overhead. Also observed with some members of WACO (a club on the west side of the island) and some locals from Hilo at their public star party at the Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani Bay - fun time! Dark enough to see tendrils in the Crab using the 10" and 13 Nagler.

The most fun by far was getting out on the lava trails in the 4WD Jeep... to limited access green and black sand snorkel beaches. Also through rain forest so thick the trails were barely wide enough to drive through, including the top of the vehicle. There are some amazing trails there! Too bad I had to come back, it was in the 80's every day... gorgeous sunsets...

Red-eye flight back arrived here at 8 this morning. I'm beat, but have a good caffeine buzz that'll keep me going until I hit the wall...

Sunday, January 9, 2005

Machholz from Montclair

Had a great weekend all over the bay area... finishing with the treat of clear (although dewy) skies. Strolled around Jack London Square, nice drive through Montclair up scenic Shephard Canyon Road and Skyline, up to Chabot to show my friend where our group gathers to work on telescopes, what a roll-off roof observatory looks like (the one housing the 36" Cass) - then up to her friends beautiful home nearby (a short walk to Chabot from there). What a spectacular view of the bay they have! After dinner, looked outside and the sky was clear. Out came a couple 10x50 binoculars from the trunk of the car. Comet Machholz and the Pleiades together were great. The comet is quite large and bright, its tail trailing to the south. This view was a thrill for the three non-observers I was with. They all recognized the "Seven Sisters", but had never viewed it through binos - and none had seen a comet before.

Finished the night with drinks down in Montclair at Crogans. We'll be going back soon with scope in hand, to show off Saturn.

I hope others got out too, and enjoyed that great view...