Observing Log for 2007-05-22

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Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-05-22 16:00 UT
To: 2007-05-22 16:05 UT
Equipment: Solarscope
Temperature: 20.4C ...
Dew Point: 10.2C ...
Humidity: 52% ...
Wind Speed: 1.1mph ...
Wind Dir: North North West ...
Pressure: 1018.4hPa ...

Mostly cloudy afternoon. Finally started to break up late on so took the Solarscope out to do a quick sunspot count.


From: 2007-05-22 16:00 UT
To: 2007-05-22 16:05 UT

Active area 956 was visible with 2 spots. Both appeared to be very small and faint.

Location: Billingborough (South Lincolnshire, UK)
From: 2007-05-22 18:47 UT
To: 2007-05-22 20:29 UT
Equipment: Sky-Watcher Explorer 130M
Temperature: 18.8C ...
Dew Point: 9.8C ...
Humidity: 57% ...
Wind Speed: Calm ...
Pressure: 1018.5hPa ...

The evening got more and more clear (slightly milky sky with a few bits of cirrus about) so I decided to set up the 130M and attempt to observe the daylight occultation of Saturn by the Moon.

Disappearance of Saturn

From: 2007-05-22 18:51 UT
To: 2007-05-22 19:07 UT

After letting the 'scope cool down a little (I was rushed getting set up) I used the 25mm eyepiece in the 130M to try and locate Saturn. With the "dark side" of the Moon in the field of view I moved around a little to try and find it and, initially, failed. Thinking that a higher power might help I switched to the 15mm eyepiece and scanned some more. After a short while (at 18:56 UT) I could finally make out the planet. It was very faint and, initially, kept popping in and out of view.

Having got it in the middle of the field of view I switched to the 10mm eyepiece. It was still hard to see most of the time. As an experiment I added the Neodymium filter and that appeared to improve things a bit. Now and again the view of the planet's shadow on the rings would pop into view.

I stayed glued to the eyepiece and then, between around 19:05 UT and 19:06 UT (I had no method of keeping accurate timing and, even if I had, it would have meant looking away from the eyepiece) I noticed that a bit of the rings was missing. Very quickly more and more of the planet disappeared until, some time around 19:06 UT, it had totally gone.

I was quite surprised at how quickly it happened. It felt like it took no more than 30 seconds although I've got no way of knowing how long it actually took. The "effort" of watching it probably made it feel faster than it actually was.


From: 2007-05-22 19:08 UT
To: 2007-05-22 20:12 UT

I spent most of the next hour talking on the phone to a couple of fellow observers while also watching some cloud roll in from the west. By 20:00 UT the Moon had been totally lost behind cloud. Although I could see a gap off in the distance it didn't look as if it would make it over me in time.

By 20:12 UT the gap had got very close and, for a few seconds, the Moon reappeared but disappeared just as quickly. It looked as if I was going to miss the reappearance of Saturn.

Reappearance of Saturn

From: 2007-05-22 20:13 UT
To: 2007-05-22 20:29 UT

At 20:13 UT the Moon finally became visible again and I acquired it in the 'scope as quickly as possible. Most of Saturn was already visible, just part of the rings was still occulted. Very quickly the whole of the planet and the rings was free of the Moon, I timed last contact to be 20:14 UT.

I carried on observing, watching the gap widen, until the Moon was lost to cloud again at 20:19 UT. I had a few extra fleeting glimpses over the next couple of minutes and then the Moon totally lost again. By 20:29 UT the cloud was heavier and I decided to call an end to the session.

Page last modified: 2013-04-09 09:19:19 UT
Dave Pearson <davep@davep.org>
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