Geneva and all things stellar (3/2/2019)

Geneva and all things stellar (3/2/2019)

oughly twenty years ago. Somewhere in China. A Long March rocket boosted off its pad for whatever mission it was tasked for, assuming an equatorial orbit, forever sailing for the western horizon.

March 2nd, 2019 – 7:02pm. My scope, leveled at Sirius in Canis Major, was undergoing sight calibration testing for club night at the Geneva Gun Range. The sunlight was draining out the sky and I was just focusing in when the leftover rocket booster moved through my sights, just a pinpoint of light flashing by against the royal purple backdrop.

“Just after seven,” I called to my wife. “Crossing Sirius, going west.” My wife jotted that down.

And now, today, I was able to track down which satellite this was, a geeky version of Trainspotting that I like to engage in.

Yeah, the CFAS group was there, lined up with their scopes (and markers out to keep latecomers from blasting us with headlights). JB and I were down on the end of the line, set up with our tiny (by comparison) scope. We traded eyepiece time with Brett (another newbie) (whose scope is a trench mortar) and got some really nice views. Very fun to get out into the night, to line up the usuals (the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, the Double Cluster). Took in the double star of Cor Caroli. Some exploration down near Sirius got a new one for me, M41 (the Little Beehive) and maybe the pair (M46/47) though I can only say with confidence I saw a single cluster there, even though I looked all over for it. Brett tossed me a nice view of Andromeda.

Overall, it was a good night, just cool enough, not too buggy, with a nice group who shared their toys and chatted amicably.

Good Saturday night.