A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Michael Cain
Date: 2020 Dec 22, 12:05 -0800
David, we had better luck here in eastern Washington. Things hadn’t been looking good as we’ve had a succession of fronts moving through the past few days, and yesterday - appropriately enough - began as one of the darkest (and wettest) days we’ve seen lately. The skies began clearing early afternoon, however, but as we hit the road out of town, they were still overcast to the SW. But the tail-end of the then-present front had a distinct end what seemed about 50 miles west, clear skies apparently beyond. So, like reverse storm-chasers, off we went.
We wound up driving about 15 miles further than we’d planned, but it was worth it. We had a great view of the gas giants (and, by then, a near-first quarter moon). But what was initially a pretty good look quickly degraded as the pair descended into what was obviously a turbulent and murky atmosphere. Shortly, our tripod-mounted 10x50 binocs were giving almost as good a look as our small telescope (32x with best eyepiece and Barlow). The photos we’re seeing online now suggest everyone had about the same success.
I’m never disappointed by an evening under the stars, but the Great Conjunction didn’t offer the sort of ‘Star of Bethlehem’ experience I’d been hoping for. Saturn was dim, and a tenth of a degree separation is still separation. That said, we wouldn’t have missed it; sorry you and so many others did!