Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Finally, a clear night

Sunset at McDonald Observatory

For the first time since my arrival here last Thursday, I was able to see sunset. I took this picture (actually a montage of two pictures) this evening. You can see the crepuscular rays (the sun rays) emanating from the horizon, the moon, and the planet Venus (the "star" just to the left of the weather mast; click on the image to get the larger view). Venus is just emerging into the evening sky, and will slowly rise and dominate the western evening sky for the next several months. (Venus is also one of the most commonly reported UFOs, and we'll see a definite increase in UFO sightings in the next few months.)

Alas, we are not observing yet. One last cloud enveloped the mountain right after I took this picture, and while it is gone, everything is wet with condensation. It all has to be dry before we can observe! Things are drying; with a little luck, I'll be working within a half hour.

I've had some bad luck this year at McDonald. I've been observing a total of 13 nights this year (not counting tonight), and I've only gotten about 1 1/3 nights of useful data. That's just barely over 10%, which is a lousy batting average.

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