Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Constellation, A Comet & A Missed Opportunity

So, there I am, Tuesday night, 23rd October 2007, preparing my souped up video camera to grab some images of Perseus. For the past couple of weeks, my column has run a series of articles regarding the Andromeda/Cassiopeia/Perseus myth. Since this week the series wraps up in Perseus, I wanted to grab some images of the more interesting objects within the constellation, namely the Perseus III OB association (one of my favorite objects).

The camera has had some work done lately. It now sports a better looking mount, made from corrugated plastic, some hardware and JB Weld, fixed snuggly beneath the main housing with very strong double sided tape. Not only has the greatly improved the sturdiness of the system, it also looks much better. I've also decided to employ my wheeled "Mobile Observatory 1", a combo toolbox/workbench with wheels. All was set for the night of the 23rd of October.

I was wheeling my equipment outside when the clouds began moving in. Perseus was still behind the trees; it was not quite 9:15. But I suspected that it would be high too late, that it would be obscured.

Indeed, I was to be proven correct.
As I was beginning to pull the extension cord outside, a sold line of overcast began to come up from the south, completely obscuring the sky for a large swath save for some sections above the east and west horizons. Adding insult to injury… it began to sprinkle.

Meanwhile, short period Comet 16P/Holmes was preparing to do something extraordinary amidst that very stellar association I intended to video.

It pains me so much to think I could have caught that flare real time. I understand how Charlie Brown must have felt whenever that football was yanked aside.


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