No Joy on the Supernova, 2/21/14

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No Joy on the Supernova, 2/21/14
Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 24, 2014 3:16 AM

The forecast was for clear skies on Friday night and I was more than anxious to try to observe SN 2014J, the type Ia supernova in M82, through a large aperture.  As I drove to the ASH Naylor Observatory for the first time in months, I noticed that clouds were beginning to make an unwelcome appearance.  Of course, by the time I arrived at the observatory, the sky was mostly cloudy.  A fellow ASH member was already there.  He mentioned that the sky had been perfectly clear when he had arrived.  We spent some time looking at the satellite maps and deciding whether it was worthwhile to wait out the band of cloudiness that had invaded the skies unexpectedly from the south.  

After a half hour or so, conditions began to improve somewhat so we walked from the Asper administration building to the Culver roll-off-roof observatory, which was already open, and began to observe using the venerable 12.5" f/6.5 Cave Astrola Newtonian.

The skies were far from great and the northern sky, naturally, was covered with clouds.  We had a look at M42, M43, and NGC 1981 and then M41.  The next target was the delightful NGC 2169, the so-called 37 Cluster - http://oneminuteastronomer.com/5194/orion-star-cluster-ngc-2169/ - in Orion.   

We then viewed Jupiter for a bit and the clouds began to dissipate somewhat in the north.  Thinking that there might be a chance to see the supernova, we set up the club's 8" f/6 Hardin Dob, since maneuvering the 12.5" Astrola to an object near the NCP can be rather tricky.  As I began to scan the area where M82 resides, the clouds returned with a vengeance and we decided to call it quits for the night.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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