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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 20:19:35 EDT
Subject: Eclipse, Victor Meldrew Impressions

Hi all, 
1. ECLIPSE. In case you have forgotten, there's a large partial eclipse of  
the Sun on Tuesday morning, 3 October. It's annular in Iberia and North Africa, 
 but if you haven't already booked flights or accommodation to see annularity 
 there, it's probably a bit late!
I attach a copy of my article on the eclipse from STARDUST magazine (RTF  
format, for safety): there's also a much better illustrated article by yours  
truly in the October issue of the BBC Sky at Night Magazine, and there are of  
course articles in the other UK/Ireland astronomy magazines.
The IAA intends to mount a public 'eclipse-watch' in Botanic Gardens (where  
we observed the Transit of Venus) that morning - if you can go there, and  
bring a suitable telescope and/or projection system, please let me know  asap. 
More details later.
2. ASTEROID OCCULTATION. I drove to a nice dark off-road site, about 5 km  
West of Kilrea, right on the centre line, for the occultation by 565 Marbachia  
earlier this evening.The forecast was quite good, and so was the twilight  
sky. I set up the telescope (127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain), plus the big  30x80 
binocs on a tripod just in case, and a big telephoto lens on an SLR  with 1600 ISO 
film. Twenty minutes to go - starfield identified; dictaphone  taped to the 
top of the tripod, stopwatch checked, all looking good. Ten minutes  to go - 
sky dark & 95% clear. Mobile phone switched to  silent. Five minutes to go - all 
last minute checks OK. Sky clear &  dark, target star easy to see. Four 
minutes to go - ready to switch on tape  recorder. Three minutes to go - final 
check on the field in the telephoto: all  OK. Back to the eyepiece - no stars! A 
medium-sized patch of  cloud had suddenly come up above the trees from the SW! 
- "I don't believe it!" 
   Sky elsewhere is still clear - which way is the cloud moving?  How big is 
that patch? Then it started to rain - not much, but big spots.  Still totally 
cloudy in the event direction. "I DON'T BELIEVE IT!" 
   Tilt telecope down to protect the optics, then get the tube  cap on. Cover 
binocs & tele lens. "I REALLY DON'T BELIEVE THIS!!!"
  Three minutes later: the sky starts to clear where the star is, and  the 
last drops of rain peter out. But I've moved the telescope in both RA  & 
Declination in tilting it and capping it, and I can't find the  starfield!
    Two minutes after the event - I've found the star again,  but too late. 
   That must be my unluckiest observation attempt in all my long  years of 
observing! I tried to console myself with some star trail photos, but  it didn't 
really work! 
   Did anyone else see it?
Clear skies (Ha!)
Terry Moseley


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