The Spyglass Network (SGN)

The Spyglass Network (SGN)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Lightning Raid

It was my day off, and they were predicting a dusting of snow... I couldn't sleep but it was only 3:30 AM .. no worries, up and make coffee! Now as a planetarium builder/owner/operator, any dark is good dark so out I went into the early March blackness. The wind howled as a few frozen pellets pelted me. In the planetarium, I was testing new lighting arrangements. A planetarium builder doesn't see the same sky every time he flips on the switch - he endlessly experiments with light sources, positions within the star cylinders he has collected/built ... so the sky varies, just like the real one. After 30 satisfying minutes, I began to return to the house for another cup..

But now it has cleared! The brief front gone, I see Scorpio stalking the southern horizon .. the stars of summer pushing themselves up above the eastern rim of the world .. I halt my return, divert into my behind-the-barn laboratory 'Menlow Park', and in 30 seconds my small short field refractor is deployed. A wall of clouds can be seen slowly spreading from the North, but I spend the next 10 minutes viewing the unexpected starfields. Saturn swims into view.. Antares.. I view stars, not just clusters and galaxies. How many amateurs just look at famous stars? Probably none I muse, except me. We look at forests, but ignore the trees sometimes.

Im cold now, I hadnt planned on an outdoor adventure, the coffee awaits, yet I managed in less than an hour to recharge my planetarium batteries, I got my observing fix, and its only 5 AM. Time to make another pot...