The Terpsichore Occultation - Oct 4, 2013

This was a high-probability event and high in the sky. I anticipated it would be rather easy and a "sure thing". It was only half degree or so from the famous open cluster M37 in Auriga. How hard could it be? So I arranged to spend the night at the Observatory, hoping to get some work done on the finder scopes or perhaps bake the desiccant early in the evening. But I was late, and even forgot the power cord for the camcorder and had to drive all the way back home to get it, and then back out to the observatory. 45 minutes and 14 miles not well spend. Got up at 4:15am, shaken out of a sound sleep with an alarm clock (I hate that, do it as rarely as possible). Got the 10" set up, got it 2-star aligned, found M37 easily. But then it just got hard...

Well, because it was overhead, it was awkward. And, it turned out the star field was filled with very faint neighbors in no easy patterns. I just could not find the faint 11th magnitude target. It finally got too late to try and hook up the video camera, so I got out the radio/tape recorder. But I STILL could not positively ID the target. Those Preston star charts just don't reliably show the true magnitudes of the stars. In the end, I got it on the area I was sure had the target star, and tried watching in turn the several candidates it might be.... and there was no occultation visible. If there was an occultation, it was extremely brief. Later, I heard that it was a miss from just north of me, by Derek Breit. Probably a miss from Aptos as well, and a bit of a south shift, but not necessarily much.

I really need to find time to write software to make useable star charts with the proper FOV's and orientation, and also learn the Watec 910hx eventually.