August 2003 MAC Observing Session

August 2003
After the rainiest and cloudiest summer in memory, everyone was ready for a good night under the stars.  With Mars within a few days of its Grand Opposition of '03 there was lots of interest from friends and neighbors to see what the fuss was all about.  The weather report predictions had not been very promising all week, but at the last minute the skies cleared and the session was on!

As always, the evening began with a cookout.  As the sky darkened, all present were treated to watching satellites being tracked in Hap's scope, a nice Iridium flare, and later, good views of Mars.  There were plenty of scopes to go around (various flavors of Meade LX-200's seemed to be in abundance) to give the many visitors a turn at the eyepiece.  While the seeing right after Mars rose was not optimum, some caught a sight of the red planet through a telescope for the first time.  Gene fascinated everyone with his real time web cam images.

The air was humid, normal for August in the South, and though some deep sky objects were observed, the views were less than spectacular because of the bright sky background.  An approaching thunderstorm 100 miles to the north began lighting up the sky even further with distant lightning flashes about 2 AM.  Clouds finally rolled in around 3 AM and those that remained packed it in for the night.

Still, not a bad Star Party for August!