Sky Conditions: The sky was clear during the window of observation. Before and after that it was cloudy
Wind Conditions: Quite a lot of wind but not that much during the window of observation.
Observation Start Time: 03:00 pm
Observation End Time: 03:30 pm
Summary: I went to the Musk Observatory to get a first experience with the telescope. I followed the instructions with success until I had to take a look at the Sun. It was not well aligned with the Sun Tracker but I couldn’t succeed to use the Hand control to make it right. Then I changed the set up ( time ) to get the Sun aligned and it was already to cloudy to take a good look…
Objects Viewed: none
Problems Encountered: I didn’t find the instructions to use the Hand control in order to move the telescope.
Summary: The last several Sols have been overcast or extremely windy. An attempt to observe yesterday, during a clear patch, was stymied by high winds. Also, I came down with a cold yesterday and have been moving at a slower pace. Today the conditions were too perfect to pass up, even if feeing a bit under the Martian weather. After we helped today’s EVA crew get out the hatch, I had to take the role of Hab-Com until our Commander, Ryan, was finished with his dust experiments which are conducted at the time of the departure and return of the EVA’s. Sometime between 1pm and 2pm I made my way out to the dome and attempted to observe the Sun. I was having difficulties seeing it through the eyepiece even when it was in the Sol Spotting scope. Yesterday I tired to align it using the arrows but still saw no movement in the spotting scope. Today, I tried again and realized it helped to have your eye in the eyepiece. After getting the Sun in the eyepiece, I was finally able to toggle the focus knobs to bring the Sun in focus. I started taking some photos and almost immediately after taking photos, I caught an airplane eclipsing the Sun!
Objects viewed: Sun
Problems encountered: Had to trouble shoot to get the sun in the eyepiece. Was not able to observe the sun through the computer program today. It took too long to set up the camera.
Further questions: I probably will have some questions about the computer program but hope that it goes smoothly tomorrow and that weather is clear and calm.
Name: Julia DeMarines
Date: January 31, 2016 (Sol 03)
Sky Conditions: Mildly cloudy
Wind Conditions: None
Observation Start Time: 05:00
Observation End Time: 06:30
Summary: Crew 188 enjoyed watching the Super Blue Blood Moon before it slipped over the horizon.
Objects Viewed: Moon
Equipment Used: Celestron Celestar 8
Problems Encountered: Did not attempt to track the moon so just manually fixed the drift of the moon.
Just the status of the Musk Observatory was checked.
· Inside the Manual box was a battery (picture 1).
· Inside Quick Guides box, the Quick Guide and a hand control were found with an advice that said “Spare hand control. Please do not use unless instructed by the astronomy team”. Don’t worry, there is not an intention to use it (picture 2).
· The black box “Sirius Observatories” was turn on. After cheeked the full status of the Musk Observatory, I turned it off (picture 3).
· The picture of the astronomy box is attached (picture 4).
· The astronomy laptop was found in a case on the shelf in the lower hab (picture 5).
· In general, the Musk Observatory looks in good condition. I can’t wait to see the sun from Mars.
(This is not a formal MDRS report, just a summary of astronomy activities for the first week that were performed with my personal 6” Newtonian that I’ve set up next to the dome. No use of the MDRS observatories has taken place yet.)
Name: Max Fagin
Sky Conditions: Hazy for the first few evenings, but cleared up on Thursday and Friday
Wind Conditions: Calm
Observation Start Time: N/A
Observation End Time: N/A
Summary: The only scheduled observing was an attempt to photograph the entire crew on a distant mesa in front of the rising supermoon, but there were clouds to the east that prevented it. I have managed to catch a few photos of the sun and moon (attached). Also included is a photo of the crew on new years night (before entering simulation) standing on a (much nearer) mesa and looking at the full moon. The sky cleared up 2 nights ago, but has now gone back to cloudy, will do more astrophotography as the schedule and weather permits.
Summary: Unfortunately observing was not able to be done today due to extensive cloud cover. We are hoping the cloud clears enough to allow us to watch the Geminids tonight. In the meantime we used the procedure Peter sent out yesterday to re-process the images from yesterday and it worked great, example below.
Thanks for the help! We will try again tomorrow and hope the clouds clear.
Summary: We were able to observe three prominence’s on the limb of the sun which were visible using the eyepiece as well as the camera. They are imaged below. In the raw image it was impossible to view the prominence and the sun surface at the same time (as expected). We are novices at photoshop, but attempted to optimize different parts of the picture for different settings to allow both features to be present in the same image. Images of the three prominence’s are attached that were experimented with. If anyone has advice or instructions on how to better utilize Photoshop to allow two very different features to show through in the same image it would be welcomed.