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Ceph and Cass

June 7, 2013: Saturn and ISS after barbecue


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Yesterday evening we had the first group barbecue of the Intelligent Systems Group of our institute in our garden. Quite a few people could not make it, so we decided to call it a semi-group barbecue instead (mathematical jokes need not be considered funny, according to the Craske-Trump Theorem). After the barbecue, I set up the scope, and let it cool for an hour. After dessert (tiramisu made by my Italian PhD student), I checked if Saturn was visible, and it had cleared the trees. Seeing was very steady, so I cranked up the magnification to 290x with the XW7., and invited the students and colleagues to have a look. Consecutive variants of "WOW!" indicated that they all spotted the planet without difficulties. I also pointed out Titan to them. I must say the view was very steady, and I thought I might do some imaging. First, however, those present wanted to see the ISS zip past, which it did nicely on schedule. We all used my collection of binoculars to have a look, and I had an opportunity to compare the TS 15x70 (BA1) with the Helios Apollo 15x70 HD (BA8). No contest! The Helios showed up a clear elongated shape, with pinpoint stars in the background. The TS showed glare.

We had another look at Saturn, and I spotted two more moons (Rhea and Tethys), and the occasional flicker of Dione. I missed Iapetus in the gathering haze. I had hoped to show the people the Ring nebula and some other treats, but alas, clouds rushed in, so we had to pack in. For most of the guests this was the first time they had seen a planet through a scope, and for those who had seen it before, this was the biggest scope to date, so everybody when home happy.

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Lovely report, so good to share the views.

Plenty tiramisu on it's way to the ISS. We were pleased to spot the Albert Einstein the other evening, very low on the same track but not so brilliantly bright.http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/press_centre/atv-4-‘albert-einstein-is-the-heaviest-ever-payload-for-ariane-kqw-kbb.html

Nick.

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