Friday, February 01, 2008

Peeping through holes in the cloud cover

The past two days the atmosphere has been very dynamic here. We had a gale yesterday, and both yesterday night and the night previous to that cloud cover and short but bright clearings followed each other up unpredictably.

I did try to do some observing, but as a result of these dynamic weather conditions I lost most selected objects to untimely cloud fields: apart from the NOSS 3-2 duo (03-054 A & C) on Wednesday night the 30th Jan.

When observing through the telescope, these NOSS duo's are very attractive targets. They operate in thight couples (the older ones even in trio's), crossing the same field of view with usually only a few seconds between them. It is very cool to see two bright yellow sparks chase each other through the FOV.

NOSS-es are operated by the US Navy, the acronym meaning Naval Ocean Surveillance System. They intercept radio traffic from ships and use it to pinpoint the locations of enemy shipping.

My trusted Oregon Scientific DCF-77 clock (a radio controlled clock getting its time signal from an atomic clock in Frankfurt) died last Wednesday after years of faithful service. Wednesday evening I temporarily used the clock on my weather station, which is also DCF-77 controlled, as a back-up, but I do not completely trust it so I ordered a new DCF-77 as a replacement for the failed one. It arrived today.

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