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Tantalus

2112 - Short report

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I haven't posted any reports lately, so I thought I'd better do something. We've had a few clear nights lately, but I really hate the cold and find it hard to get motivated to stay out for any meaningful obs in these temperatures. Anyway, this is today's...

Started the day early with the Lunar Eclipse.

Set the alarm for 5am, but when I looked out of the window it was foggy out. Luckily it'd cleared by 6am, and by 6:45am the Earth's shadow had already begun to cross the Moon's disc. I took a walk to the fields, where I'd have a clear western horizon, standing on a footbridge that goes over a roadway, and the handrail is just at the right height to rest the binoculars on. At 07:10 and with the Moon with almost half-covered, it was just a dark shadow but by 07:15 a reddish-orange colouring started to emerge on the western edge of the Moon. The sky was already getting much lighter (bright Saturn was the only other object visible in the sky), so the reddish colouring wasn't as strong as I've seen previously, and through binoculars the subtle coloration gave the Moon a delicate translucent eggshell-like appearance. By the time it reached totallity at 07:43 just the eatern edge was visible and becomming difficult to see even through bins, and I finally lost it to the brightening sky by 07:58.

Around 9 hours later, the Moon was already rising again in the east, so I watched it occulting Tejat Posterior (mu Geminorum) - a red giant that I find pleasing to the eye through a telescope. To be honest I've never really seen the attraction in occultations, but as I was in an astro-mood I thought I'd give it a go. I timed the Immersion at 17:25:52s at 200x, and saw it emerge again at 18:15:40s. In between, I swung round to Jupiter. The seeing was good, and I could make out a couple of darker bands in the south, though I need some more magnification/ better ep's to do it any real justice. I stayed to watch an Iridium flare in Perseus at 18:33, but with the air temperature already down to minus somethingstupid, it was too cold for my liking, and the OTA was covered in a layer of white frost! :), so I took the hint and packed away.

Apologies for the brevity, must try harder next time... :p

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Excellent report and interesting foray in occultation.:)

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Minus somethingstupid - like it :) We had a clear night when it was -19. I was tempted, but thought better of it.

So did the view of the occultation change your opinion?

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Hmmmm... not sure if it's changes my opinion, I'll have a go at a few more before I decide. But I was surprised to see how quickly the Moon moves across the backdrop of stars, something I've never really noticed before. Normally when observing the Moon I'm so focused on the Moon that I don't notice the background stars, so observing this occultation did have it's reward.

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A very interesting report, especially of your successful observation and timing of the occultation of Tejat Posterior. I missed the event on the 21st December, but I did manage to catch Tejat reappearing from behind the dark lunar limb on the 28th October 2010, early in the morning. It was a very striking reappearance, both because of it's relative brightness and beautiful orange colouration. I had a go at capturing an image, shortly after the reappearance, using a digital camera hand-held to the eyepiece:

20101028-06h58m-tejat-posterior-section2-text-small.jpg

Good luck with any other occultations you try. I do find them fascinating. On some disappearance events those last few seconds really do give me a sense of the motion of the Moon.

Jeff.

Edited by 65Cap

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Hi Tantalus, glad you had some clear skies up the road. Nice little report. Will try and get down and will bring my ep's with me.

Alan

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