Last night at Caledon was a pretty sky, though chilly. The sky was mostly clear most of the night. A breeze kept the humidity down, though it also vibrated optical tubes, and the seeing was pretty good. A 30% illuminated moon made the sky bright for seeing dim objects, but we were able to see many good targets anyway.
I think we had 7 RAC members on the field, 5 telescopes, and more than 20 visitors. The crowd suddenly dissipated between 10 and 11 pm.
We had a beautiful pass of the ISS. Through binoculars, several of us observed a distinct rectangular shape to the space station. A nice change from seeing starry pinpoints and faint fuzzies. Later we saw the uncrewed Tiangong-1 space station pass over.
As Mars rose though the trees, my first thought was “That’s too bright for Mars.” But Mars is currently at opposition, and it really was that bright. None of us had the aperture to support the magnification to resolve surface features, but it was a pretty sight to observe anyway. Jupiter gave nice, steady views of its cloud bands and (early evening) 2 moons.
As I showed the Orion Nebula to a group of Girl Scouts, I again felt unsure of my target. In the moonlight there was little nebulosity apparent. And of course I showed the sun moving across mountain and crater features on the Moon. It was interesting to practice with a different viewing condition.
Thanks to everybody who came out.