Greetings fellow astrophiles,
This observing log will be as short as the observing window was.
The evening forecast for Friday, February 21st was iffy all afternoon, with a potential clearing predicted from winds coming from the Northwest, but still predictions of up-to-moderate cloud cover until later in the evening. In our great optimism, Bob Piekiel (with his Celestron NexStar 11) and I (with my 12.5″ New Moon Telescope Dobsonian “Ruby”) had our scopes setup and at-the-ready for attending viewers.
A fuzzy image for a fuzzy evening.
Over the course of about 90 minutes, 8 attendees in two small blocks (9 if we include Larry Slosberg’s attending Canis “Luna”) bore witness to a very unpredictable sky. “Sucker holes” (those clearings within the clouds that appear to offer you a minute or two of viewing, only to close up as soon as your scope is pointed) were the order of the evening, providing only limited views of Sirius, Rigel, and Betelgeuse (three of the brightest stars that just made for targets in the wispy edges of cloud bands), the great Orion Nebula (clear when visible, but lessened by the low-transparency conditions), the Pleiades (giving only views of the brightest stars in the cluster), and Jupiter (which did impress for the five minutes it was visible).
Such evenings are never a loss for public viewing sessions, as the downtime gives everyone a chance to ask questions, wax astronomical, and keep track of any other interesting happenings going on that come up in conversation. Pack-up occurred around 9:30, finishing just as a first few snowflakes began to fall in the Baltimore Woods parking lot.