Graze of 7.2 Magnitude SAO 94021 on March 17, 2013

This graze path was ultra convenient - passing over Aptos. I could try it from Freedom Road, near where I was having a St. Paddy's Day celebration with the Delucchi's that evening, or I could try it right from Cabrillo College Observatory. The graze was pretty favorable - 7.2 star 10N of 35+ crescent moon at 45 degree altitude. I tried to interest Becky and Duncan to join me, but both had their hands full with other projects. I had a busy weekend as well; starting out with working hard on Friday getting my Astro 28 curriculum proposals finished and launched, then a 35 mile ride on Saturday to celebrate the local olive harvest , then packing and spending the night at Cabrillo Observatory to work a bit on the prospect for a new LCD monitor for the finder scope on the 12" main scope. Then up at 4:30am, drive over and meet Rick Ferrell and carpool to Paso Robles where he ran the Paso Robles Half Marathon and I biked it, photographing along the way (I'm laying off running till I get a bone scan in the next week or so). Then getting home, quick nap, then make a potato/carrot dish and head off to the Delucchi's (stopping at the observatory to pick up the 8" scope and timing gear) where I spent the afternoon socializing.

At 7:30, the party was dissolving, and so were sky conditions - pervasive cirrus was losing us about 3 magnitudes of extinction. A beautiful graze would be reduced to a faint, tough graze. With no word from Becky or Duncan at the time I left for the Delucchi's in the afternoon, I just picked up one scope. And then, with the crummy weather prospects, I decided not to stay at the more favorable Freedom Blvd site where traffic would be a hassle and there was nothing to do for 90 minutes, and instead went to the observatory to use the bigger 10" scope, and also get on the internet. In the end, I did get the graze, and multiple timings.

Begin 4:10:30 UT acc
D 4:13:57.400 .03
R 4:15:34.880 .03
D 4:15:35.720 .03
R 4:15:58.430 .03
end 4:18:00.000  

The predictions are here. Cabrillo Observatory had central graze at 4:15:32 or so. The 10" concrete pedestal was where I observed from, and it was at 0.66 miles south of the elevation corrected limit. I expected to get 4 mountains, but just got 2. My track would miss the action on the leading side entirely, and just miss the broad valley just before central graze, but then hit the 3 closely spaced canyons staring just below the "+0" on the chart. The first valley on the trailing side's string of 3 valleys, was the only one deep enough to get to my station, as it turns out. I stared hard to see if maybe I had a few frames that caught any of the other valleys, but I did not. Oh well. It was a close call. The Kaguya profile shows 0.7mi south was going to miss them, and 0.6mi south was going to get them, and 0.66mi south I thought would still get a bit of the bottoms.