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0203-AstronomyReport

Astronomy Report
Renee Garifi
Observations taken Sol 10 02/02/2016

Sky Conditions:
Clear
Wind Conditions:
Calm
Observation Start Time:
18:46
Observation End Time:
18:49
Summary:
Naked eye observation
We had an opportunity to wave at our friends on the ISS as they flew in an
arc over MDRS. Beginning at 18:46 PM on Sol 10, Commander Scott Kelly and
his crew were visible for 3 minutes at a maximum height of 86°, appearing
24° above SW and disappearing 28° above NE, over the hab. The visiting
photographer captured the ISS flyover with his camera.

Objects viewed: International Space Station

Problems encountered: None.
Astronomy Report
Renee Garifi
Observations taken Sol 11 02/03/2016

Sky Conditions:
Mostly clear
Wind Conditions:
Calm
Observation Start Time:
04:00
Observation End Time:
06:00

Summary:

Visual Astronomy
I practiced calibration using the two-star alignment method. It was
successful but I would like to repeat the steps with additional calibration
stars for accuracy. I performed systems checks of the observatory dome,
shutter, power and lighting systems as well as visual inspections of the
telescope mount and lenses. Replaced the burnt out red light bulb and
placed the spare in the observatory storage drawer. Dome was able to rotate
a full 360 degrees. The clacking noises observed by the last crew during
telescope slewing were not heard but I will keep an ear out for them.

Imaging Astronomy
I mounted the CCD camera to try and image one of the five visible planets
as they are currently aligned in the SE-SW sky arc. Due to dropping
temperatures, I was unable to stay outside long enough to focus correctly
in the CCDOPS software but it served as a good practice for setup
procedures and confirming equipment and connections are working correctly;
the telescope and the computer are able to successfully communicate.

Objects viewed:
Using 2-star alignment and calibration method:
Pollux
Rasalhague
Ghost of Jupiter Nebula

Problems Encountered: Ice on top of the dome shutter caused it to stick at
first opening. After waiting for it to warm up and nudging it, I was able
to fully open the dome shutter and rotate the dome as needed. Directly
below the shutter closure point in the dome home position, ice had formed
on the floor of the observatory while not in use. I was unable to fully
close the shutter at the end of my session as it had either frozen open in
the cold weather or the shutter battery box had drained while open. I let
it sit in the sun (with telescope stowed in home position and covered) for
2 hours after sunrise and was able to fully close the shutter and secure
the observatory. Photos of shutter frozen shut and ice on floor are
attached.

Naked Eye Observation:
Our rotation lines up with the best time for all of 2016 to see Mercury,
Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter together. All five worlds visible 80
minutes before sunrise began at 07:26. The moon was paired up with Saturn
this morning.

Objects viewed:
Moon
Mercury
Venus
Saturn
Mars
Jupiter
Antars
Spica
Orion
Betelguese
Sirius

Problems encountered: Extremely cold temperatures and fatigue by crew
prevented prolonged enjoyment of this astronomical phenomenon.