Braving colder than normal temperatures, members of the Roper Mountain Astronomers met at the Dark Sky Site on Saturday, November 2nd. The Star Party dates were canceled during the month of October due to cloudy weather, so members were excited for clear skies. Gates were opened at 5:30 PM and attendees began arriving soon after. Approximately 13 club members and guests were present by 9:00 PM, 3 of them children. It was great seeing the young faces! Club President Bill Michaud operated the club's 14 in scope, in addition to the 4 member telescopes, so there were plenty of viewing opportunities to enjoy.
A waxing crescent moon was visible for most of the evening, as well as Jupiter and Saturn. A long list of targets also included Hercules Cluster (M13), Ring Nebula (M57), Dumbell Nebula (M27), Double Double (Epsilon1-2 Lyrae), Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Double Cluster (NGC 884/869), Owl Cluster (NGC 457), and Pleiades Cluster (M45). John Coutts and I took the opportunity to capture images. John used a CCD astronomical camera and I connected my iPhone to a NeXYZ telescope adapter. (pictures below).
At the time of sunset, the temperature was a comfortable 60 degrees, but a strong breeze and dropping temperatures quickly drove the temps into the upper 40's. The heated building provided a terrific place to warm up while waiting for the Moon to set. By 10:00, the wind and Moon had all but disappeared and revealed a truly fantastic view of the Milky Way, quite possibly the best view attendees had experienced in recent memory. Thanks to Allen Hill and Dennis Wilde for assisting with the opening and closing of the site.
Don't let cooler temperatures stop you from attending the next RMA Star Party. If you would like advice on staying comfortable on a cool night, ask any of our experienced members and they would be happy to guide you toward the right clothing and equipment. Some of the best views we experience can happen during the colder months! For more information on attending a Star Party, see the Events section of the website. The dates are published in the monthly Spectrum, and directions will be visible to Members after logging into the site. Here's to clear skies!
M13, Josh Palmer. Taken 11/2/2019 with iPhone 11 Pro and Celestron C9.25:
Moon, Josh Palmer. Taken 11/2/19 with iPhone 11 Pro and Celestron C9.25: