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I teach grade nine and ten (History, Science, Language Arts) in an isolated region of northern Quebec.  Some weeks are more trying than others making this one the most straining of all.  Last night, in an attempt to reconnect with my sanity (in the midst of correcting, lesson planning and science fair reports) I bundled up to face whatever mother nature had in store for me.  I was in luck...  the moon was center stage while the clouds had rolled out of view.  Unfortunately, with the humidity at 80% and the mercury at -30 degrees Celsius, the visibility was quite poor.  Ever seen the moon swim in frozen waters through your lenses?  That's when humidity and cold create well...  this:



My Telrad had given me issues the previous week so I was happy to see that it was now securely fastened with a screw.  Serious deep space viewing was impossible due to the Waxing Gibbous moon and humidity casting an ominous glow.  However, the moon simply couldn't be ignored.  Taken pictures is not as important to me as being in the presence of such reflective splendor but I did catch this little picture with my Galaxy SIII.  My students always enjoy it when I share it with them the following day.


I was surprised that none of my secondary students came to join me but with the Olympics on and the freezing temperatures, I can't blame them.  Extreme astronomy isn't for everyone.  I am very proud of one of my students who has taken the habit of making her way to my house every time the clouds cooperate.  Unfortunately for both of us, these times are few and far between this winter.  Today in class, she was able to conduct an experiment working with micrometeorites.  She gathered snow shortly after the Quadrantids and with the help of a magnet discovered this little gem which she will be showing at the Science Fair next Wednesday.   She understands that not every speck of rock that reacts with a magnet a micrometeorite.  I told her that I would be posting it on this site and she is now awaiting your final say..  did she actually find a micrometeorite?  The picture was taken through a microscope and then enlarged by cropping the picture.


Have a great weekend everyone and clear skies!


Edited by stolenfeather
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- 30ºC :ohmy: - 30ºC :eek: That's not extreme astronomy that's just madness :p . That's colder than my freezer :biggrin: !! Last night being cloudy and St Valentine's, I couldn't get any viewing done but strolling home around 2am in this part of the world, we had it about 48ºC higher than you :grin:  I cannot say anything about the micrometeorite but I can say it's a lovely post, Isabelle. Thank you for sharing.

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Now thats dedication Isabelle........or madness :grin:

Talking of being cold have a read of 'An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean'.  Its a fantastic easy read & a real (literally) adventure against all odds.  It had me feeling cold in the middle of summer in Italy. 

I take my hat off to you !


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Thanks Nick and James! Unfortunately, when I leave the northern regions for the summer, all I have is a mush smaller traveling scope so I'll take any weather to see further with my Dob! Mad? Since I love Pink Floyd, my friends actually call me the "crazy diamond".


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Thank you Astro Imp! I try and not stay out to long which is why I haven't seen as many Messier objects as I want. Oh well... the north has its issues. If I was teaching further south, I'm sure light pollution would be my nemesis.


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Wish I had a scope when I lived in Saskatchewan. Beautifully clear skies out there all winter, but then again the -50 and below temps would have been less than nice. But then again, no such thing as light pollution. Ive never seen as many stars in the skies! Gorgeous! All we have here tonight is cloud and wind :(

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Saskatchewan must have been surely beautiful at night since the sky must stretch from one horizon to the other (being so flat).  However, like you have mentioned, the temperatures do dip quite low in the winter.

I like being warm as well Michael but like many nights when it comes to stargazing, we can't pick the conditions...  Thanks for coming by!

Can anyone comment on the micrometeorite though?  It would surely be helpful!


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Great post, Isabelle, I have no idea on the micrometeorite, here's hoping! :laugh:

When I first saw the image with the potential micrometeorite, I thought it was a picture of your frozen primary mirror! :grin:

As usual, I felt frozen stiff last night, but the moon was a fantastic sight just with the MkI eyeball. I think I have gone especially soft after a summer of solar observing. :embarassed:

Edited by Luke
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When I first saw the image with the potential micrometeorite, I thought it was a picture of your frozen primary mirror! :grin:

I thought it was something on the mirror too...

Keep up your lovely posts, Isabelle, I for one enjoy reading other people's experiences from across the world. It's great to have you back. :)

Edited by Beulah
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-27.3 Celsius is the worst I ever had (Quadrantid shower, 1979), Hats off to your dedication! Interesting find by your student. It does have a slightly molten look to it, but it is hard to say from an image like that whether it is or isn't a micro-meteorite. I think that would need some form of isotope analysis (I might be wrong of course)

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